It was a solemn day on Sunday in Sea Cliff as residents gathered to remember and mourn the tragic massacre that occurred on September 11, 2001. Residents, public officials, firefighters and religious leaders gathered outside the children’s library to honor the memory of the Americans who lost their lives in the senseless terrorist attack 21 years ago.
The memorial kicked off with a loud siren horn from the local Sea Cliff Fire Department and Fire Medic Unit. Phil Como, commander of James F. Brengel American Legion Post 456 in Sea Cliff, led the memorial with a reminder to consider the individual lives lost, the pain of those left behind and the shock Americans nationwide experienced from the senseless attacks that day.
“The personal tragedy, the lives that did not continue to live, the children not born, the achievements not noted,” Como said, “(it was) a sad day, and we take note of that, because, if we didn’t, that would be to our detriment.”
Como was followed by Talia Smilowitz, a cantor soloist at Congregation L’Dor L’Dor in Oyster Bay and resident of Sea Cliff. Smilowitz performed the initial blessing and later sang a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.”
Mayor Elena Villafane then gave an emotional speech to the assembled crowd as a light drizzle poured down, leading one to mark that the weather reflected the somberness of the day. She reminded Sea Cliff residents that these were not the loss of just lives, nor symbols, but what felt like the very soul of America.