Comforting a community: Coney’s ‘Night Before’ ceremony at MCU Park honors the fallen of Sept. 11

Comforting a community: Coney’s ‘Night Before’ ceremony at MCU Park honors the fallen of Sept. 11
Photo by Jon Farina

It was a moving night for a community seeking comfort.

Coney Islanders and other locals commemorated the Sept. 11 terror attacks at the annual “Night Before” ceremony at MCU Park on Sept. 10. The event allowed locals to come together and console each other before a difficult day, one longtime attendee said.

“It’s comforting and it’s an intimate setting,” said Freyda Markow, who has attended the event for every year that it has been held since the attacks. “When we gather, it helps us get through the next day. The ceremony is always comforting for us.”

Another attendee agreed, and said that the ceremony was a poignant way to remember those who passed on Sept. 11.

“It was very nice, and a very personal ceremony,” said Fire Department Lieutenant Bill Murphy, who works with Rescue Company Two in Brooklyn and was on the scene at Ground Zero in 2001 as an off-duty first responder with Queens’ Rescue Company Four.

Attendees said prayers led by interfaith leaders and took part in a candlelight vigil. Family members spoke of their loved ones, and at the end of the event, attendees hung flowers on the Park’s granite “Wall of Remembrance” which features the images of first responders who were killed in the attacks.

Markow said she became a volunteer with the Red Cross and then the Salvation Army following the attacks, and consequently came to meet and know many families of victims. She typically sees these affected families at the event, which creates a sense of togetherness among the community members who come to comfort them, she said.

“It’s local people that we know and it’s families, so it’s a warm feeling,” Markow said.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.