Nesconset 9/11 memorial wall gets 93 more names

By Rachel Shapiro Times of Smithtown

Flag held aloft over Responders Remembered Memorial. photo Times of Smithtown

Flag held aloft over Responders Remembered Memorial. photo Times of Smithtown

Joining others who died for their country on Saturday morning were 93 deceased first responders, their names etched in stone in the memorial at 9/11 Responders Remembered Park in Nesconset.

The memorial park was created to honor the sacrifice of those who responded to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and helped with rescue, recovery and cleanup and paid the ultimate price.

The park committee, headed up by Martin Aponte, continues to add more names to the memorial wall as more succumb to their illnesses caused by exposure at Ground Zero after the terrorist attack.

FealGood Foundation, which advocates for the rights of first responders, has been a friend to the memorial, and its founder and president, John Feal, spoke at the ceremony on Saturday.

On September 12, 2001, Feal and his team of construction and demolition experts were called to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan to aid in the cleanup and recovery mission. A few days later, thousands of pounds of steel came loose from a huge pile, landing on his left foot and crushing it. After weeks in the hospital, doctors amputated half of Feal’s foot and he went through years of surgeries and innumerable hours of therapy, as well as extensive stays in the hospital.

After finding that many first responders, himself included, were not given help with their numerous ailments related to their work at the 9/11 site, he started FealGood Foundation to advocate for their needs. He has since succeeded in championing to get the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act passed, giving coverage to those who were injured at Ground Zero on and after 9/11.

At the event Saturday, those who gathered paid tribute to the 93 people whose names were added to the wall with salutes, bagpipers, a flag raising and a rendition of “God Bless America.” Many people took rubbings of the names of their loved ones on the wall, holding pieces of paper over the names and drawing over them to create outlines on the papers.

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