“My friend Charlie was an FDNY lieutenant. He had been retired, but he went down [to ground zero] with his Army truck, from Howard Beach into New York City, and he donated goods like water, supplies,” Bethpage resident Toni Ioveno recalled after she traced the name of her late friend, Charles Noran, which is etched on a memorial wall, at the Town of Hempstead 9/11 ceremony on Tuesday. “That was his way of giving back.”
Noran drove back and forth, she explained, to deliver supplies to the first responders who worked to clean up the rubble. Eight years later, his doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center diagnosed a rare cancer, and he died.
“He’d always been a firefighter,” Ioveno said, “and then to have done such good and have a bad outcome from it all is just so sad.”
Hundreds of people gathered in Point Lookout Park to remember those lost in the terrorist attacks 17 years ago. Speakers shared stories about their late loved ones and invited listeners to teach children about the tragic event to perpetuate the “legacy” of the fallen.
Every year, the town hosts the ceremony — one of the largest on Long Island — near the beach where people spontaneously assembled to watch as the World Trade Center burned across the water to the west. About 500 Long Islanders were killed in the attacks, including about 200 from the Town of Hempstead, Supervisor Laura Gillen said.
“The FealGood Foundation estimates that someone dies of a 9/11-related illness on the average of every 2.7 days, and that by the 20th anniversary, more people will have died with an illness stemming from ground zero than the 2,700 who died at the twin towers that day,” Gillen said. “That is a startling reality — 9/11 continues to haunt us.”
She was joined by town and Nassau County officials, local and New York City police officers, firefighters and clergy members to honor the victims of the attacks. The speakers included New York City Fire Department Lt. John Fee, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lisa Burch, a Lynbrook resident who lost her brother in the attacks. Gillen thanked the Freeport, Franklin Square, Island Park, Merrick, Lido and Point Lookout fire departments for providing flag arches at the ceremony and acting as the color guard.
“They’ll never be the same — they’ll never recover,” Ioveno said of her husband, Paul Ioveno, who was a first responder, and their family friends in the FDNY. “[Paul] is not well,” she said. “I’m lucky, because I had 17 more years — that’s just how I see it. But will I have another year? I don’t know.”
Mourners wrote messages to victims, dropped them in a “memory box” near the memorial wall, and placed white carnations around a 30-foot-tall steel beam that was recovered from the World Trade Center site.
“In the end, the most enduring memorial to those lost is staying true to the positive values and ideals that unite us as a community and that unite us as Americans,” Gillen said.
The Nassau County Firefighters’ Pipes and Drums Band, along with the Gregorian Consortium of Kellenberg Memorial High School, performed at the service.
Long Beach honors 9/11 victims
The town’s ceremony was one of several 9/11 memorial services held across the barrier island on Tuesday. The City of Long Beach also hosted its Remembrance Gathering at the Recreation Center, while County Legislator Denise Ford led a ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on Virginia Avenue. And the Surfrider Foundation’s Central Long Island chapter and Skudin Surf hosted a memorial paddle-out.
More than 100 people, including members of the Long Beach Fire Department, elected officials and local clergy, gathered at the annual Firemen’s Memorial ceremony at Park Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard on Tuesday evening to pay tribute to the victims and first responders.
The Fire Department draped a 15-by-25-foot flag across two fire trucks, as members of Long Beach VFW Post 1384 served as a color guard, a ceremony that took place in front of the monument on the Park Avenue median.
Former Fire Chief Richard Corbett, who led the service, County Legislator Denise Ford and others recalled the seven Long Beach residents — as well as those with strong ties to the community, such as New York City firefighter and former lifeguard Michael Kiefer — who lost their lives in the attacks, and the many firefighters and first responders from the area who developed, and later died of, illnesses from working amid the World Trade Center wreckage.
“We gather here every year not just to remember the first responders, but everybody who worked that tragic day and never came home,” Corbett said.
Ford and Corbett recalled the heroic efforts of William Quick, a 27-year FDNY veteran and a 23-year volunteer with the LBFD who played a large role in the rescue effort, and died in 2011 of lung disease. Corbett recalled how Quick, his close friend, rushed to what was then simply called “the pile” to assist in the recovery effort on his day off, as well as New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, of Rockville Centre, who had just finished his shift when he got word of the attacks, but ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel carrying 60 pounds of gear to the twin towers, where he died trying to save others.
“We will never forget the people who passed away due to illnesses they contracted while working at the World Trade Center site because they wanted to bring closure to so many families so they can bring their loved ones to their final resting places,” Corbett said. “As we recall the people who we know were lost that day, know that they are all heroes — they should be honored, not mourned. Their names should be known. They should be spoken about. They should never be forgotten.”