A lot has changed since September 11, 2001, but one constant has been the annual remembrance at the Bronx County Courthouse.
On Thursday, September 15 Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and hundreds from all over the borough participated in this year’s version, to comemmorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks, at Lou Gehrig Plaza on the corner of East 161st Street and Grand Concourse, across from the courthouse.
The names of 144 Bronxites who lost their lives as a result of the attacks were announced into the cold, rainy afternoon.
“Today’s a little bit gloomy,” Diaz Jr. told the audience. “But if drops are coming down we should accept them as tears from heaven.”
In September, 2001, Diaz Jr. was helping run an election for his father, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., who was then vying for a spot in the City Council.
“I remember not believing we were under attack,” the borough president said.
But like most New Yorkers, Diaz Jr. wound up losing someone close to him that day.
He took time during the ceremony to remember Darryl “Pop” McKinney, who worked in the World Trade Center as a brokerage clerk at Cantor and Fitzgerald and died in the attacks at age 26.
Diaz Jr. and McKinney played basketball at Rosedale Park in Soundview as kids.
“He was usually the shortest guy on the court with the biggest mouth and the biggest heart,” Diaz Jr. said.
But while the borough president followed his father into politics, McKinney earned a basketball scholarship to Elmira College and eventually landed a job on Wall Street.
“He was our hero not because he was good at basketball,” Diaz Jr. said. “But because he made it.”
Douglas E. McKeon, administrative judge at Bronx Supreme Court Civil Term, spoke on behalf of the borough’s judges.
McKeon said, “We are a family and we have lost members of that family.”
Robert Wolff, president of the Bronx County Bar Association said “Nine-eleven taught us to make sure we let our loved ones know how much they are appreciated and not to sweat the small stuff.”
The Highbridge Voices youth singing group and the New York State Courts Pipes and Drums provided musical accompaniment for the ceremony.
Derek Woods of BronxNet served as master of ceremony, Pastor Michel White-Hayes of Greater Faith Temple Church gave the invocation and Reverend Que English of the Bronx Christian Fellowship gave the benediction.