About 200 Rockville Centre residents gathered at the village’s Sept. 11 Memorial on the Village Green on Sunday to commemorate the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Adults and children planted hundreds of small American flags in the grass along the pathway leading to the memorial. Then, shortly after 7 p.m., the annual ceremony began.
Mayor Francis X. Murray led the remembrance, which started with a procession and a display of the colors by the village fire and police departments. Local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troop members led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Olivia Moore, a South Side High School student, sang the national anthem.
“Our hearts were broken on Sept. 11, 2001, and our village was definitely changed forever,” Murray said. “We recognize that no community suffered more than Rockville Centre on that tragic, deplorable day. And yet, no community responded with more goodwill and generosity for those neighbors than in our village.”
Murray thanked local elected officials for attending, including State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, Assemblywoman Judy Griffin and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, as well as Deputy Mayor Kathy Baxley and the village board of trustees.
The trustees and Police Commissioner James Vafeades read the names of the 49 Rockville Centre residents who lost their lives 19 years ago. Then resident Claire Logler, whose daughter, Elizabeth “Beth” Logler, died in the attacks, lit candles and placed them at the memorial.
The Rev. Michael Duffy, of St. Agnes Cathedral, and Rabbi David Lerner, of Congregation B’Nai Sholom Beth-David, offered prayers, and Trustee Nancy Howard made closing remarks. Duffy noted that after that tragic in 2001, “our places of worship were full, because we know in times of trouble, sorrow and fear that we can go to Almighty God.”
He asked God that the community “never forget those who sacrificed their lives in service of their neighbor, those who ran into those buildings disregarding their own safety … those who simply showed up for work that day not knowing what would happen … those who boarded those airplanes not knowing what would happen.”
To close the ceremony, Peter Gerrity performed an acoustic version of “America the Beautiful,” and Frank Colon, post commander of the local American Legion, played taps as fire and police department members filed out.
“I promise you that the eternal light of remembrance will never go dark in Rockville Centre,” Murray concluded. “Our community’s response tonight proves that we have not really survived this tragedy — we have prevailed.”