As dusk crept in over Chester A. Reese Veterans Memorial Park in Malverne on Sept. 11, families, residents and officials gathered around its 9/11 memorial with dozens of flickering candles for the village’s annual candlelight vigil, commemorating those who lost their lives 12 years ago.
“To the Barts, the Donovans, the Urbans and the Harans: I hope this gives you some comfort that it’s so important to this entire community that we are here with you this evening,” Malverne Mayor Patti McDonald said at the ceremony. “As we say every year, we’re going to be having this ceremony because people want you to know how much your loved ones meant to this community.”
Trustee John O’Brien, the master of ceremonies, recognized the families of Malverne residents Scott Bart, Jacqueline Donovan, James Haran and Diane Urban, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, and honored their memory.
“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of her,” Suzy Donovan, 42, of Lynbrook, said of her sister-in-law, Jackie. “We don’t want people to forget. We want to let people know that we can never forget what happened.”
Among the attendees at this year’s ceremony were State Sen. Dean Skelos, Assemblyman Brian Curran, County Legislator Francis Becker, County Comptroller George Maragos, Hempstead Town Councilman James Darcy, Lynbrook Mayor Bill Hendrick and Valley Stream Mayor Edwin Fare.
Malverne High School junior and Boy Scout Nicholas St. John, 16, of Troop 24, unveiled a monument to commemorate the lives lost in the attacks — which featured a slab of steel from the north tower of the World Trade Center — as part of his Eagle Scout project.
“I see it on TV and I hear about it a lot, and I feel like it’s starting to dwindle more, which makes me think about it even more, and it really humbles me,” St. John said of 9/11, which occurred when he was only 4. “I’m not trying to make people feel bad, I’m just trying to make them remember — that’s how we’re going to make the world a better place.”
When he came up with the idea for his project in July 2012, St. John said, he approached McDonald with a plan, which she immediately approved, offering to provide the steel for the monument.