Merrick fire departments honor the fallen

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The Merrick community once again gathered at the corner of Merrick Avenue and Sunrise Highway on Sept. 11 to remember the ultimate sacrifices made by first responders during the attacks on the World Trade Center 18 years ago.

The lights atop several emergency response vehicles flashed against the setting sun, and music sprouting from the bagpipes of New York Police Department’s Emerald Society filled the air.

Dozens of residents and firefighters bowed their heads in a moment of silence to honor former Chief Ronnie Gies and former Captain Brian Sweeney, both of whom died on that day in 2001.

Merrick lost others from the events of that day as well — Anthony Hanlon, a New York City Police Department officer and first responder from Merrick, died last October from 9/11-related cancer. The Herald Life covered Hanlon’s death in an obituary published on Nov. 15, 2018.

In a speech, Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads urged residents to pass down their memories of that fateful day — and the immense societal changes it caused — to the younger generation who were born after the fact.

— Andrew Garcia