The 9/11 Vigil Committee in Middle Village held a candlelight vigil and prayer service at Juniper Valley Park to honor and remember those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
The vigil was held in the 9/11 Memorial Garden in Juniper Valley Park, where a granite plaque in remembrance of the lives lost is on display.
The committee is made up of a group of volunteers, established immediately after the events of that day. Frank DeBiase is the president of the 9/11 Vigil Committee and was also a first responder at Ground Zero. DeBiase said that as this is a non-anniversary year, the vigil was simple.
“It’s prayer. It’s music. It’s poetry. We keep it as simple as possible,” DeBiase said.
Councilman Robert Holden said it’s important to always remember the events of that day.
“It’s important to always remember the brutal attack on our country and honor those who lost their lives to it, on that day and since then. I thank the 9/11 Committee and everyone who’s making it possible,” Holden said.
The number of attendees has dwindled over the years but DeBiase said that the vigil still attracts a good crowd, even on non-anniversary years.
“Usually, on the non-anniversary years, we usually have 500 to 700 people and on anniversary years the police tell us that we have 1,000 to 1,200 people,” DeBiase said.
DeBiase believes it is of utmost importance to remember and never forget the events that unfolded on 9/11 and is happy to see younger people joining the committee.
“It’s been the same handful of people for the last 21 years. It has expanded to include some young people. The group now has about six college-age and slightly beyond college-age young men and women that are involved in it,” DeBiase said.
DeBiase also said that the involvement of the younger generation means that the committee will carry on for years to come.
“It’s something that we hope to be able to turn over. I mean, I was a first responder. I just turned 65 this year, and it’s nice to have some people in their late 20s and early 30s that are so dedicated and interested in it, and it’s wonderful to see that they are picking up the torch and carrying it for us,” DeBiase said.