It was a solemn evening in Franklin Square last Sunday, when firefighters from the Franklin Square & Munson Fire Department and family members who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks gathered at Rath Park to commemorate that horrific day 19 years ago.
“Today we memorialize those that have come before us,” said Captain John Novello, adding that it is our duty to teach younger generations about the fateful day and “what made this country great.”
That day, many firefighters entered the burning towers in an attempt to save those trapped inside, although they knew they may not make it home to their families, which Chief Dominick Labianca said shows the true resolve of the human and American spirit.
“Their spirit, devotion and legacy will never be forgotten,” he said.
But this year’s ceremony differed from those held in years past. There was no one singing the national anthem, and the ceremony did not include a Town of Hempstead show mobile. Instead, clergy members, elected officials and dignitaries were stationed at the gazebo, and firefighters were in the fenced-in area surrounding the Sept. 11 monument. The chairs surrounding the monument were designated specifically for those who have lost a family member in the attacks.
Everyone else had to stay behind the fence, and maintain social distancing.
“No one expected our lives to change in March,” Novello said. “But that takes nothing away from the importance of this day.”