Valley Stream’s Sept. 11 memorial is full of symbolism, from the Pentagon base, to the piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center. But many people do not know about all the components of the design, and the Valley Stream Junior Fire Department is working to change that.
The juniors, a group open to boys and girls ages 12-18, are fundraising for a plaque that will be placed at the monument in Hendrickson Park. It will explain the various nuances of the memorial, which opened last year on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Mike Field, the advisor of the juniors, works in the village’s sign shop and was contacted by Mayor Ed Fare about creating a sign for the monument. After talking, they decided a bronze plaque would be much more appropriate. “It deserves more than what I could do at the sign shop,” Field said.
Members of the Junior Fire Department are selling snacks and beverages at all the summer concerts on the Village Green to raise money for a plaque. They hope to raise enough by early September so the plaque will be in place for the 12th anniversary commemoration, which will be held in the evening for the first time.
Michael Oliveri, 16, a member of the juniors, said the organization is doing its part to honor all those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, including 343 firefighters. “We’re doing all we can to respect them,” he said. “We’re the future firemen of Valley Stream.”
Richie Field, captain of the juniors, said the monument serves as an important symbol for everyone who lost a loved one on Sept. 11. He said he hopes the plaque will help people understand the careful thought that went into the design of the memorial.
The village acquired a piece of steel from the World Trade Center in 2011. That year, it was displayed on a flatbed truck for the 10th anniversary, then was stored at the village’s Public Works facility until the monument was created last summer.
“Everybody seems to universally like the monument,” Fare said. “Most people didn’t realize all the significant parts of the design process.”
Fare added that the juniors get a chance to do good for the community in more ways than one — enhancing the village’s Sept. 11 memorial and providing refreshments to concertgoers. “The juniors thrive on service,” Fare said. “The kids will take pride and ownership in the monument.”