The replanting took place during the Parks Department’s “It’s My Park Day,” event, on Saturday, May 17, and was coordinated by Dorothea Poggi, of the Friends of Ferry Point Park. Poggi coordinated the original planting last November.
“In the fall, you will see the trees clearly distinguished with yellow leaves,” Poggi said at the replanting.
The 15 black birch saplings are part of a row of young trees lining an entrance to the park near the parking lot. Signs posted on a wire fence next to the trees marks the site as one of five “living memorials” to victims of 9/11 in New York City.
Each tree planted represents a victim of the national tragedy from the Throggs Neck area. Jack and Kathleen Lynch, who lost a 30-year-old son who was a 9/11 firefighter, returned to the park to replant a sapling in honor of their fallen hero.
Michael Lynch was just thirty years old when he died in the terrorist attack. He was about to be married in November 2001, three months after he lost his life.
The Lynches dug in, replanting a sapling to honor the memory of their son. They were one of several people taking part in the ceremony.
“When the trees grow up, it is going to be the perfect spot for them,” said Jack Lynch, of Throggs Neck. “It is right next to the parking lot, at the entrance to the park. It will be something we will want to visit later on.”
Everyone present agreed that when the trees matured, it would be a wonderful tribute to the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the terrorist attacks of 2001. The vandalism at the site, which took place in January, shocked everyone involved.
“My son, Michael’s brother, came out to visit the grove in February, and noticed the trees were gone,” Kathleen Lynch said.
When Poggi was informed of the missing trees, so was the Parks Department. Subsequent media coverage spurred community outrage at the heinous act, which seems like a brazen slap in the face for the families of the victims.
And while the victims of 9/11 will never be forgotten, residents are not looking to forget the “heartless” vandals who desecrated their memory and are still searching for answers.
Poggi said there could be a chance the theft was caught on videotape, as there are numerous cameras located on the Whitestone Bridge, near where the grove is planted. She hopes those same cameras may serve as a deterrent for future thieves.
Local community groups have also pledged to keep a watchful eye over the area.
And at the same time, the Lynch Family has started a foundation in honor of their fallen son to help ease the pain of other 9/11 victims. The foundation can be found on the web at www.mlynch.org.