Nearly 100 Franklin Square community members and nearby residents gathered around a piece of steel from the World Trade Center on Sept. 8 to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks.
As part of the ceremony, John Salzman, chief of the Franklin Square & Munson Fire Department, spoke about the bravery firefighters displayed on that fateful day 18 years ago. “Their actions are a testament to the resolve of the American spirit,” he told the crowd, saying that they should “serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Local clergy also spoke about the heroes who put their lives on the line to save others from the wreckage. Deacon Doug Ferreiro, of the Church of the Holy Spirit in New Hyde Park, said, “We saw many heroic acts of selflessness that day,” and Monsignor Rick Figliozzi, of Saint Catherine of Sienna, read a first-hand account of the day from a Franklin Square fire fighter.
In his account, Rich Scally, recalled the ash on the ground and the smoke bellowing into the sky. He also noted the “orange body bags” that filled the rooms and said, “The solidarity and respect in our city” following the attack “was inspiring.”
“We are in debt to such people when they’re recalling memories,” Figliozzi said, “and they should help to steer in our own minds and hearts the bravery, the goodness and the compassion for the innocents who lost their lives on that fateful day.”
Salzman then read the names of local firefighters and residents who died in the attack, while their family members and fellow firefighters stuck a rose in the steel structure in their memory.
The ceremony concluded with resident Ginamarie Lopez leading her neighbors and local officials in a somber rendition of “God Bless America.”