Woodside will remember neighbors lost on 9/11

By Bill Parry

A Woodside veterans group will host a 9/11 remembrance ceremony for the sixth straight year in Doughboy Park Thursday.

There will be a candlelight vigil with speeches, poetry and flower offerings followed by a reading of the names of the community’s fallen heroes.

“We have 34 names of the people we lost from Woodside and Sunnyside on the wall in Doughboy,” Woodside Civic Association President Ed Bergendahl said. “Many were policemen and firefighters, including Fire Marshal Ron Bucca, the only marshal in the FDNY to die that day. He was a Woodside guy.”

Bucca made it to the 78th floor of the South Tower before it collapsed. U.S. Army Camp Bucca in Iraq was named for him.

“There’s very strong patriotic feeling here in Woodside because we’ve lost so many during the nation’s conflicts,” Bergendahl said. “Doughboy Park honors our World War I dead and our ZIP code has the largest representation of those lost in the Vietnam War. That memorial is just a block away.”

Bergendahl is a veteran of the Korean War and the event is sponsored by The Doughboy Park Patriots, a coalition of local civic groups and nonprofits.

“At the end we’re going to commemorate the bicentennial of our national anthem with an honor guard of active military from the United War Veterans Council,” Bergendahl said. “That should add patriotic flavor to our event.”

Elected officials, officers from the 108th Precinct and firefighters from Ladder 163 have been invited to attend.

“We want to give the community the chance to express their grief,” planner Martha Chemas said.

Don McCallian, president of the United Forties Civic Association, is also helping to plan the event.

“It’s a great tribute and remembrance for all the people who left their homes that morning and never came back,” he said, “People like Michael Brennan, who was with the first group of responders that morning. They named a hall after his at St. Rafael’s. It’s a sad event but it’s also a spiritual event because these people meant an awful lot to these neighborhoods.”

The program gets under way at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11. Doughboy Park is at the corner of 56th Street and Woodside Avenue.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr‌y@cng‌local.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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