Hundreds gathered in Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday night to pay tribute to the thousands who died in the Sept. 11 attacks 12 years ago. The candlelight vigil was hosted by the East Meadow Fire Department.
Nassau County Legislature's Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance, and EMFD Chaplain Doug Wood followed by leading a prayer.
The Fire Department made its entrance next, its Color Guard at the helm, donning the American flag.
Firefighter Glenn Carpentier led the proceedings, adressing the large audience at a lectern situated in the park’s gazebo. “Twelve years ago, America confronted one of our darkest nights,” Carpentier said. “A decade later, much has changed for America. We’ve known war and recession. We can never get back the lives we lost that day of the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“What has not changed,” Carpentier continued, “is our character as a nation, our faith in God and each other, and our belief in America.”
Carpentier then pointed out the great number local groups and associations present at the community, who exemplify that community bond, including the Nassau County Police Department, police auxiliary units, the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary Clubs, the school district’s PTAs, the veterans, the Coalition of East Meadow Community Organizations and senior centers.
Residents stood solemnly in the square, beside their loved ones at the corner of East Meadow and Prospect Avenues, each with a candle, listening attentively during the emotional ceremony. East Meadow Boy Scout Troops 157 and 362, and local Girl Scout Troops, were also among those in attendance to pay tribute.
Fire Chief Walter Griffin stepped forward and placed a wreath next to the American Flag at the entrance to the square. “We will never forget the September 11, 2001,” Carpentier said. “But out of that darkness has risen a national resolve to make this world a better place.”
A bagpipe and drum salute broke the silence, followed by a recording of God Bless America, sung along by the hundreds in attendance.
Before the ceremony concluded, Carpentier ended the proceedings with closing words: “Always remember and never forget. Thank you and God bless you all.”