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Nassau County hosts socially distant 9/11 ceremony

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Courtesy Nassau County

In a nearly 40-minute, socially distant ceremony last Friday morning, elected and appointed Nassau officials and families of local 9/11 victims paused to remember the 348 county residents who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

At the solemn ceremony, held under a steel-gray sky, seven family members of victims read all 348 names before a handful of attendees at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, near the county’s 9/11 memorial.

County Executive Laura Curran offered opening and closing remarks, and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder was among the attendees. 

The Nassau County Police Department Pipe and Drum band performed “Amazing Grace”; the Rev. Kevin Smith, the county’s fire chaplain, offered the opening prayer; and NCPD Chaplain Dov Schwartz gave the closing prayer. 

“This has been a hard year, to say the least,” Curran noted in an email to county residents a day before the ceremony. “But as we approach the 19th anniversary of Sept. 11, I am taking time to pause and remember the tragic events that left our community and our nation forever changed. The World Trade Center attack stole the lives of thousands. We lost family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues — and we lost a sense of safety that we once took for granted. 

“The heroic first responders who set their own safety aside to rescue others,” she continued, “showed immense courage, and we are forever grateful. We face a second tragedy as we remember those heroes who survived 9/11 but lost their battle with Covid-19 this year — a disease made worse for those who spent days or weeks breathing in the air at ground zero.”