Twenty years later, memorials mark Sept. 11 attacks

Elmont, Franklin Square residents to gather at Rath Park for ceremony on Sunday


The Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department will hold a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony on Sunday, at 6 p.m., at the 9/11 Memorial in Rath Park, to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks in 2001.

“This year, we remember the tragic events that occurred 20 years ago on September 11th, 2001,” the department wrote in an Aug. 17 Facebook post urging community members to attend the event. “Join the Franklin Square & Munson Fire Dept as we honor those that were lost on that [fateful] day.”

“The ceremony is for honoring the victims of 9/11,” said Frank Culmone, treasurer of the Franklin Square Civic Association. “Those who perished that day, those who have been sick and have perished since, those who are still sick, and all of the families that went through it — that’s who we want to honor most.”

“Just to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” added Dominick Labianca, chief of the Fire Department. “The innocent people murdered that day for no reason. To resolve that we will never forget them.”

Labianca, who worked at ground zero for over a month after the attacks, added that it was important to never forget that the best and the worst of humanity was on display that day. The best, he said, banded together to save as many people as possible at the World Trade Center, while the worst senselessly killed nearly 3,000 people.

The hour-long ceremony will include a reading of the names of residents of Franklin Square and nearby communities who died in the attacks. Roses will be placed next to the plaques at the memorial bearing their names. The memorial recently received a Sept. 11 remembrance banner from the civic association, part of the group’s hometown heroes program.

“They were all heroes,” Culmone said of those who died on 9/11.

“It should be taught to every child,” Phil Malloy, a civic association board member, said of the attacks. Malloy, who became ill after working at ground zero, helped secure steel from the World Trade Center that is part of the memorial.

“It’s just a memory that never goes away,” said Kathy Musgraves, captain of Fire Police Company #1 and adviser to the Fire Department’s Explorer Post 710. Musgraves, who was working at an eastern Long Island hospital at the time of the attacks, remembered that the patients she was serving, both elderly and young, were “horrified.”

“It’s something that we will never forget,” said Adrienne McKenna, correspondence secretary for the civic association. “We have to always remember that day in our history. Especially for those of us who lived through that day.”

“Having experienced the event firsthand,” McKenna added, “I just want people to never forget. It was definitely a dark day for our country, and a lot of people suffered personal losses.”

The ceremony, she said, should serve as a reminder of the sense of national unity and patriotism many across the country felt in the wake of the attacks. “Everybody bonded together,” McKenna said. “I don’t remember experiencing anything else like that. You just want to feel that patriotism.”

“Twenty years later, and it still affects people,” Culmone said. “The community still can feel that feeling; it was like a gut punch to everybody.”

“It serves as a constant reminder about all that is great about our country,” Labianca said, “and that freedom comes at a price.”