To commemorate the 10th anniversary of that day, the United Veterans & Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth and Maspeth Federal Savings Bank unveiled an addition to the 9/11 Monument in Maspeth Memorial Park, located on the corner of Grand Avenue and 69th Street, at a memorial service held on the morning of Friday, September 9.
Community groups, service men and women, and hundreds of other Maspeth residents joined family members of those lost on 9/11 to honor the memories of their 19 fallen heroes from the Squad 288/Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) 1 firehouse.
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Councilwoman Liz Crowley, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and former State Senator Serphin Maltese also came to show their respects at the ceremony.
All who spoke thanked the families of those who perished for their continued participation in the Maspeth community and expressed their respect for the strength they have shown in the last decade.
“9/11 is [an] enduring part of the lives of each of us in this community,” Markey said to the crowd, “who pass this memorial every day and are reminded of the sacrifice of brave men and women who continue to put their lives on the line for us.”
On the left side of the monument now lies three items recovered from the wreckage, donated to Maspeth by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. On the right are two helmets worn by firefighter sailors aboard the U.S.S. Wyoming, in recognition of those from Squad 288/HAZMAT 1 who lost their lives.
The ceremony also included the laying of a wreath from the Fire Department, releasing of doves into the city sky, prayers, songs, a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance.
“By standing together with our friends and neighbors and our brave first responders and their families,” Markey said, “we show our mutual support and we draw strength from each other to face the future.”
She recalled that the beautiful morning of September 11, 2001, was also a Primary Election day, and she and other legislators were out and about getting the vote out in the city.
“Then everything changed and the sunlight was replaced by a daylight nightmare,” she said.
Later that evening, two young men from Maspeth organized a gathering in front of the firehouse so residents could lean on each other for support “as we all tried to comprehend what had happened,” Markey said.
“As we assembled in the street, we could see in the distance the smoke rising from the World Trade Center site,” she said. “What drew us together that evening was the same impulse that brings us together today.”
Also drawn to the service was HAZMAT 1 Battalion Chief Nick Carado, who was asked to speak on behalf of the Fire Department.
“I’m here to say thank you to the members of the family that we lost,” Carado said. “Thank you for standing by us and being here.”
He said as he was driving to the service, “I was thinking ‘what are we celebrating, what are we commemorating?’”
“I think for me what we’re commemorating is the bravery, the courage that morning of so many people that came from home,” Carado said. “Members of my community that came from home that didn’t necessarily have to be there but wanted to be there.”
He said their bravery inspires surviving city residents to love and respect each other.
“It inspires me to be a better person,” Carado said.