Fallen Heroes To Be Honored – QNS.com

Fallen Heroes To Be Honored

A fitting tribute to the boroughs fallen 9/11 heroes is finally ready to be unveiled at St. Michaels Cemetery in East Elmhurst this Friday morning.
The monument will honor the 76 Queens firefighters who perished saving the lives of thousands in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
A crowd of hundreds is expected to gather at the site, including Borough President Helen Marshall and Congressman Joe Crowley, whose cousin, John Moran, will be one of the firefighters honored on the monument.
"Im very proud that my cousin John was there to serve that day," Crowley said. "He was in Tower 2 that day and we heard from the person who drove him down there that the last thing he heard John say was, Let me off here, Im going to try to make a difference. He still lives on in our hearts and minds."
The memorial, the only one honoring specifically those firefighters who lived or worked in Queens, is designed with a black granite centerpiece rising above two grey granite "wings" spreading out on both sides. The names of the fallen will adorn the wings, while the image of a firefighter will be etched into the black granite.
A smaller footstone will sit a few feet in front of the main memorial and will read, "FDNY: The gift you gave, the price you paid will never be forgotten, as surely as your life you gave, our gratitude is written; Inscribed today on historys page for all the world to see, a lore of one who modeled courage, a heros legacy. IN HONOR OF QUEENS FIREFIGHTERS, September 11, 2001."
One of the driving forces behind the monument has been the Santora family, whose son, Christopher, was the youngest FDNY hero killed on 9/11. Al Santora, Christophers father, a retired fire chief, and his wife Maureen, have been working on the memorial for more than two years. Santora is interred at St. Michaels, near the site of the new memorial.
According to Ed Horn, the director of sales and marketing for St. Michaels, located at 72-02 Astoria Boulevard, the monument will sit on a small plot of land that the cemetery set aside for it in front of its administrative offices. Horn added that the monument would not have been possible without the support of Astoria mortician Gus Antonopolous and Tony Siano of the Quinn Funeral Home, as well as Bronx mason Domenick DeNigris who will do the stonework for free.
In addition to the monument itself, Memory Medallions of Pennsylvania will donate technology to enable a small iPod-like device to be passed over each name etched into the stone and display information about the person on the screen.
"We all kind of think of our local firefighters as neighbors or as family in some respects," Crowley said. "I think the firemen in Queens and their families appreciate it as well. It singles them out a little."
E-mail this reporter at editrich@queenscourier.com.

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