At Postcards memorial in St. George, a solemn tribute to 9/11 victims

By Mira Wassef Staten Island Advance

The sun sets behind the 9-11 Postcards Memorial on the St. George Esplanade during the annual September 11 memorial ceremony for Staten Island victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan. Thursday September 11, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)

The sun sets behind the 9-11 Postcards Memorial on the St. George Esplanade during the annual September 11 memorial ceremony for Staten Island victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan. Thursday September 11, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)

7:54 p.m.: The emotional evening concluded with the rose ceremony. Several members of the FDNY, city officials and family members placed a single rose on the Postcards memorial as a tribute to loved ones.

De Blasio, Oddo, Ms. James and Ms. Mark-Viverito also participated.

Rep. Michael Grimm also placed a rose and made the sign of the cross.

7:43 p.m.: A moment of silence for reflection and remembrance preceded Bishop Victor Brown’s benediction. Rev. Brown is from Mount Sinai United Christian Church.

He asked God to bless the family members who lost loved ones on 9/11.

“Bless us all to remember and never forget that we are all precious in your sight. Amen,” he said.

Staten Island Pipers played “Amazing Grace” and the Tottenville High School Echo Taps performed.

7:29 p.m.: Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield of Young Israel of Staten Island shared a few brief words.

He said everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing that day the moment the towers were struck. He compared it to knowing when he learned President Kennedy had been assassinated.

“America is strong and resilient. We are secure because we are sure we have God on our side,” he said.

7:19 p.m.: Several family members began the tribute readings and shared specific memories from that day. It was amazing how many of them were firefighters, policemen, captains or lieutenants.

“It feels like yesterday,” one woman said.

Another woman, who lost her uncle, who was a firefighter, said, “Our family will never forget.”

One woman broke down when she said her husband’s name.

“Time does not heal all wounds,” she said.

7:08 p.m.: A few city officials, including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, spoke.

Ms. James said today is a day of reflection, memory and prayer. “God bless America,” she said.

Stringer said the anniversary doesn’t get easier every year and that we must keep the memory going for future generations.

Ms. Mark-Viverito said to the families, “Your loss can never be filled by ceremonies. So I pray for you.”

6:59 p.m.: De Blasio thanked all the family members gathered to remember the people they lost on 9/11.

He said Staten Island was hit terribly hard that day and many of the borough’s cops, firemen and EMT rushed to ground zero to help and lost their lives.

“We can never forget that day, the confusion or the pain,” he said. “I’ll never forget after when people hoped their loved ones would be rescued and put up posters on subways and walls around downtown.”

“It’s hard to comprehend,” he added. “We can take some solace in that the city responded with resiliency and passion. It brought out the best in us.”

6:47 p.m.: Borough President James Oddo said he’s having a difficult time verbalizing the emotions he felt that day on September 11.

“There are images seared into my mind forever,” Oddo said.

He said he will never forget the moment the second plane hit or when the days passed and he realized how many people were lost. His neighbor lost her husband.

“I was at Holy Rosary Church and everyone was sobbing,” Oddo said. “We’re carrying a complete sense of helplessness on how to help all of you. We will never forget.”

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The 274 Staten Islanders who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, will be honored at the Postcards memorial Thursday night at the monument in St. George.

During the ceremony, family members will read the names of their loved ones.

The monument, dedicated in 2004, pays tribute to Staten Island residents who perished on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President James Oddo will be speaking at the event.

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