By Patrick Donachie
Glen Oaks residents and community leaders gathered at Tribute Triangle Park Sunday to remember the lives lost 15 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. Speakers talked about the virtues the United States continued to stand for, while first responders recalled the despair and heroism in vast supply on the day of the terrorist attacks.
“We are a nation of immigrants, but we gather today as one,” Rabbi Menashe Bovit of the Bellerose Jewish Center said during the ceremony. “The flag, and everything that stands behind it, has stood up against opponents over the generations. Now we have a new battle.”
The event was one of several held throughout the borough last weekend to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The two buildings collapsed after Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked two passenger jets and crashed them into the buildings. Terrorists also struck the Pentagon, while passengers rushed a hijacked cockpit and brought down another plane in Pennsylvania.
Bob Frederich, the president of the Glen Oaks Village Co-op, said the park was originally a parcel owned by the co-op that went unused. The co-op decided to create a park on the area that would commemorate the memory of the 9/11 victims.
“This is a place for people to come and think about loved ones,” he said.
Retired NYPD Capt. Joe Concannon spoke about how the event was sponsored by an organization called Support Your Local Police. He was one of several first responders who recalled how he experienced the fateful day 15 years earlier. At the time, he was working in the 24th Precinct on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. He recalled everyone’s initial reaction to the first plane strike.
“Everyone was thinking a Cessna, a misguided tour plane,” he said. “We didn’t know yet.”
A Seventh Day Adventist minister spoke about his son, a firefighter with the FDNY when the planes hit the towers. On the morning of 9/11, he was heading home after completing his shift but turned around and headed for the World Trade Center when he heard the news of the attack. He survived, but many on his engine died, and he remained at the scene for weeks, helping with the recovery. The minister concluded his speech with a brief prayer.
“We are hopeful, looking forward to that morning,” he said, “where all will be made new.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona