Flanked by a skyline of midtown Manhattan where the massive towers once stood, the group gathered to remember the lives lost that day.
Master of ceremonies Kenneth Rudzewick, president and CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings, opened the service: “We pause this morning in Maspeth and across America to mark the unfinished work of remembering. There will never be a time when this work is finished. There will always be cause to train our heart and our mind on the infamy that stole 3,000 lives on that fateful day.
“For it will be in remembering that we hold true, regardless of the milestones that come and go in our lives, in our city, and in our nation,” he continued. “Things will change, but the imperative to remember will endure, never being completed.”
Kathleen Nealon of Queens sang a rendition of the National Anthem that brought tears to the eyes of many onlookers, while Reverend Peter Zendzian of Holy Cross Parish recited a touching opening prayer.
“We have learned in these years since September 11 of 2001 to walk with courage,” he said. “Nonetheless it has been a very hard but necessary lesson since we have wiped those first of many tears from our eyes. As we pray for those who are burdened by pain, let us pray so that the culture of love may be established all over the world. We especially honor the selflessness of the firefighters - all of those brave souls who gave themselves on 9/11 in the service of others. “
After a moment of silence, Michael Alwood began the reading of the names of those lost from the Maspeth community. With each name, an American flag was placed in front of the monument. Loved ones rose from their seats to set the flags into the dirt, pausing momentarily to reflect and pay respects. Tears were shed and men in uniform saluted in honor of their lost comrades.
Local firehouse Hazmat 1/Squad 288, which suffered the largest loss of firefighters of any FDNY unit on 9/11, presented the laying of the wreath in front of the Maspeth 9/11 memorial monument, which is inscribed with the words “We Remember.”
“For all the families who have lost loved ones in the attack, we continue to mourn with you,” Rudzewick said in concluding the ceremony. “While your loss is great, the message of love and compassion that you have conveyed these eight years is even greater and inspires us to this day.”