REMEMBRANCE CEREMONIES IN SEA CLIFF AND HIGH SCHOOL HONOR VICTIMS AND HEROES OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
September 14, 2014 -- The 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was observed locally this past Thursday with a remembrance service outside the Sea Cliff Children's Library in the morning and then later that afternoon at a ceremony to dedicate a 9/11 memorial at North Shore High School.
In Sea Cliff, residents, members of Fire Department, Village Hall staff, as well as local, county and state elected officials gathered outside the Children’s library. Mayor Bruce Kennedy spoke briefly and a moment of silence was observed as the village bell tolled 13 times, once for each year since the attacks.
At the high school, a recently completed World Trade Center Memorial site was formally dedicated. Designed by Kevin Henneberger and Nick Green, students in High School teacher Laura Green's Design and Drawing for Production class, the memorial is located in the courtyard between the library and the 19th century style one room school house, and features an artifact from the World Trade Center site, a twisted section of a window frame beam, that was obtained through the efforts of Math teacher Dr. Robert Gerver.
After opening remarks by High School Principal Albert Cousins, in which he commented that the site would encourage students "as they walk through the courtyard to reflect on the events of 9/11," Police Officer Joseph Paolillo, whose brother John, a firefighter, perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, lowered the flag to half mast in honor of the victims of the attacks, and student Emma Haley sang the National Anthem.
Speakers Dr. Edward Melnick, School Board Vice President Toni Labbate, Sea Cliff Principal Chris Zublionis, and Dr. Gerver emphasized the themes of community, coming together, reflection, and education in their remarks.
Dr. Melnick said that the memorial came about as result of the efforts of many people coming together for a common purpose and that "that says something very special about our community."
School Board Vice President Toni Labbate said that the site was a place where students "could reflect upon what they learn in their studies of the heroism of our first-responders," and that it would help "encourage discussion and enlighten our students for years to come."
Mr. Zublionis said "this school community understands very well about the connection of events outside of schools to events inside of school. While we never forget how difficult this day was, we will also never forget how people pulled together to help each other out."
Dr. Gerver acknowledged the contributions made by many in both the school community and the broader community in getting the project together. Of the memorial itself, he spoke of the significance of having an artifact from the World Trade Center as its centerpiece. "All Artifacts are memorials," he said, "but not all memorials are artifacts." "Artifacts," he continued, "allow us to touch history.”
The ceremony concluded with 13 tolls of the school house bell by Student Government Organization Co-President Paulina Calcaterra, and buglers Nicholas Harman and Kevin Lynch playing Taps.
In a statement to the press and included in the dedication ceremony program, the North Shore School District stated that it "would like to thank the following groups for their generosity in commemorating this memorial: Mario Gallo (Forest Iron Works), Gaspare Saracino (Saracino Construction), Michael Anthony George (MAG Construction), Chris Lempenski (Lempenski Landscaping), Angelo and Dominick Panzarino (Panzarino Landscaping), Rob Prudente, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
"The 9.11 Dedication Ceremony was dedicated to the men, women, and children who lost their lives; the brave people who gave their lives; and the heroes who responded to the emergency that will never be forgotten."