A pandemic will not stop the City of Glen Cove from remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001 that left 2,977 dead, including four Glen Cove residents.
Among the residents who perished that day was 52-year-old Joseph Zuccala, who was a banking consultant at Fuji Bank on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s south tower.
Tina Cammarata, Zuccala’s sister, said that her brother was in his office when the plane hit. “My brother was larger than life,” Cammarata said. “He had the greatest personality, very compassionate, lots of words of wisdom and he was just a special person who made everyone he met feel special.”
Members of Zuccala’s family attended the ceremony to place a wreath at Glen Cove’s 9/11 monument, which is a piece of the World Trade Center secured by the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce. The monument was created within the year of the Sept.11 attacks.
“We really appreciate this,” Cammarata said of the ceremony. “Our family appreciates this. They named a street after him. That’s always a blessing every time you turn the corner and see his name.”
However, the pandemic brought some changes for this year’s ceremony. It was not open to the public. Instead, it was recorded and posted on social media. And everyone that attended wore masks.
“Today we must remember, and continue to remember, that hope is still needed 19 years later,” said Mayor Tim Tenke at the ceremony. “We know that survivors and volunteers who volunteered at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are still suffering or have passed away due to 9/11 related illnesses.”
Among those attending the ceremony this year was Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi Whitton, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Rev. Roger Williams of First Baptist Church of Glen Cove, Rabbi Irwin Huberman of Congregation Tifereth Israel, Glen Cove City Council members and other local and state officials and leaders, along with first responders.
“I think we all have our own 9/11 story,” Curran said. “For many of us, it hit very close to home. Most of us lost loved ones, friends, family. But I think there was something else lost on that day if you didn’t lose a person, we lost our innocence.”
But 19 years later, even during a time of uncertainty, Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman noted that there is still hope. “It’s a beautiful day, just like it was 19 years ago,” he said. “My daughter starter kindergarten just this morning and for many of us, that’s hope and that’s a future that we know we will continue to fight to protect.”
DeRiggi-Whitton recalled going to Glen Cove High School with Matthew McDermott, who was among the four Glen Cove residents lost on Sept. 11.
“Everyone had a crush on Matt,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “I remember him, but I don’t think he would remember me. But, he was an incredible person. He had this smile that would light up the world. He was a soccer player. He was a family man. He had three beautiful children right around the same age as mine.”
“I wonder how his kids are,” the legislator added. “And I just hope everyone knows that we all love each and every one of those kids.”
Glen Cove High School student Josiah Aschelew, following a prayer by Williams, played the song 'Taps' on his trumpet to conclude the ceremony. And after everyone left, the wreath remained at the 9/11 monument, along with a single rose that Councilwoman Dr. Eve Lupenko Ferrante said had been placed there by someone before the ceremony started.
“Let’s hope for next year that we’re all back together and that this pandemic is just another thing in our history,” DeRiggi-Whitton said.