Hundreds of southern Brooklynites came together on Sept. 11 for back-to-back vigils in Marine Park and Bay Ridge commemorating the thousands of lives lost on that same day 19 years earlier.
“Our neighborhoods lost so many people on 9/11 — first responders, family members, friends, beloved members of our communities. We were forever changed by that tragic event,” said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, whose office hosted both remembrances. “Together, we reflect, we remember, we mourn. Together, we share in our collective grief. I will continue to carry on this important tradition for our communities so we can mark this tragedy as a community and never, ever forget.”
The freshman senator was first joined for a 5 p.m. vigil in front of the Carmine Carro Center in Marine Park in partnership with the offices of Councilman Alan Maisel, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Assemblywoman Jaime Williams, who also spoke at the ceremony.
Immediately following, Gounardes was joined by co-host Councilman Justin Brannan, Congressman Max Rose and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis for a 7 p.m. ceremony at the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both ceremonies drew smaller crowds than usual, and participants were urged to wear masks and maintain a safe social distance. “Despite the challenges that the current times imposed on us,” Gounardes said, he was proud to bring the community together to commemorate that fateful day.
Knights of Columbus Co. 126 Pipes and Drums kicked off the Marine Park vigil with an emotional performance, while Bay Ridge’s ceremony began with a powerful Presentation of Colours by local boy scouts and girl scouts.
At both ceremonies, local clergy members of various faiths shared prayers for the fallen, while other speakers recounted their own experiences on 9/11 and spoke of how that day has since changed their lives.
“Getting through sept. 11, I became more evolved, I emerged as a human being better equipped to help others because of that pain, better-equipped to love others and accept the love of others,” said former NYPD transit chief Joe Fox, who served as the Marine Park ceremony’s keynote speaker. “And I know that us, as a country, and us, as a people, did the same. Through that pain, we became better.”