By Juan Soto
Woodside never forgets.
Residents of the neighborhood that lost 34 people in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks gathered on the 13th anniversary at the Doughboy Park to honor their fallen heroes.
In an emotional candlelight ceremony, about 200 people from the community marked the day that changed the world.
There was a solemn roll call of the names of the people from Woodside who lost their lives during the attack: Thomas Asthon, Firefighter Michael Brennan, Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca ….
As each name of the fallen was read, a neighbor carrying a white rose walked up to the plaque that commemorates the victims.
Music sounded softly in the background as the roses were placed individually in one of the three baskets next to the plaque with the 34 names of Woodside’s fallen heroes.
“It is important we come out every year,” said Police Capt. Brian Hennessy, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct. “We were devastated, but with devastation came strength and resolve.”
The tribute, after the salute to the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance, included a somber moment of silence.
Firefighters from local Ladder 163, neighbors, elected officials and emergency personnel attended this time of remembrance.
Sounds from the firefighters’ radios were occasionally heard, as they were on duty during the ceremony. Their fire trucks was parked at the street.
A total of 22 firefighters died on 9/11, including Bucca, the only fire marshal to be killed in the line of duty in New York City history.
Bucca made it to the 78th floor of the south tower before it collapsed.
“We are here to honor those who vanished,” said an FDNY member. “As firefighters, we always try to keep the community safe.”
Korean War veteran Ed Bergendahl read a poem written by Lawrence Homer and titled “September 11, 2002,” a year after the towers fell to the ground.
“Terror will not be allowed to conquer courage,” Bergendahl read. “And death shall not have dominion over life.”
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens) said during the “horrific events” that a lot of people “did not have any choices and came down with the building.”
The congressman told the audience to try “to make a difference every day. Sometimes [it] will be in a big way and sometimes [it] will be in a small way.”
He added, “Woodside is a wonderful community because Woodside never forgets.”
Among the elected officials present were state Assembly members Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) and Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst), state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
Michelle DellaFave sang the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the vigil, organized, among others, by Woodside on the Move.
“Breathtaking,” said Van Bramer after listening to DellaFave.“This is a community that never forgets, and it comes out every year.”
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.