The New York City metropolitan area was, collectively and profoundly affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 21 years ago now. Wantagh and Seaford were no exceptions to this; they both lost members of their communities to these attacks. Both hamlets do their best to keep the memories of these heroes alive, and did so this past Sunday in ceremonies.
Wantagh paid tribute to its fallen heroes – Richard Aceto, Gary R. Box, Dennis M. Carey, Kevin W. Donnelly, Lee Fehling, Charles W. Magee, Brian McAleese, Brian G. McDonnell, Joseph Mistrulli, Frank J. Sadocha, Robert Sliwak, and Paul Talty – at American Legion Post 1273 on Park Avenue in Wantagh. The ceremony took place at noon. George DiBitetto, commander of Wantagh’s American Legion, led the ceremony. County Legislator Steve Rhoads and State Senator John Brooks, who are members of the Wantagh and Seaford Fire Departments respectively, also attended in uniform and paid their respects to those who died on Sept. 11. Wantagh American Legionnaires also led a 21-guns salute outside the building.
Seaford paid tribute to its fallen heroes – Thomas T. Haskell, Timothy S. Haskell, John W. Perry, Robert Sliwak, and Michael Wittenstein – in a special candle lighting ceremony that took place at 7 p.m., at Seaford High School, and went on in spite of the rain. Seaford has a special 9/11 Memorial Committee run by residents Tom Condon and Lynda Schachner, and runs two events every year. In addition to the ceremony every Sept. 11, they give out “Patriot Awards” every spring to five Seaford students. The students put in an application for the award and are selected as a random number. In addition to the award, scholarships are also given out to these students, and honorary Patriot Awards are given out as well.