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Queens Chronicle

Middle Village pays tribute to the fallen

Emotional ceremony marks the 18th anniversary of Sept. 11 terror attacks

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:30 am

“Through blurred eyes we find the strength and courage to soar beyond the moment. We look to the future knowing we can never forget the past. God Bless America.”

Those are the words at the 9/11 Memorial Garden at Juniper Valley Park.

And they reflected the prevailing sentiment as the community came out last Wednesday night for its annual candlelight vigil to remember the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We gather as a community because these days we need to gather as a community,” said state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).

Addabbo sponsored a law passed on Sept. 9 mandating that schools observe a moment of silence on 9/11 to commemorate those who were killed, as well as a discussion at the start of the school day.

“It’s important that our children who were not born on that tragic date understand how our lives were changed that day forever,” Addabbo said.

Speaking about the thousands who suffered long-term health consequences from being near Ground Zero, he added, “This is a not a singular historic date in our history. It is an ongoing tragedy that we must always remember and never forget.”

But Addabbo noted in the aftermath of the attacks people saw “the worst of humanity to be followed by the best of humanity.”

During the emotional night, poems and stories were shared, patriotic songs were played and the names of those killed in the attacks were read.

Boy Scout Troops 106 and 119 held candles. Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32 was also on hand, as were officers of the 104th Precinct.

Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth) and former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley also attended.

The Rev. Paul Norman of Our Lady of Hope Church in Middle Village offered prayers.

One speaker read the poem “We’re Still Standing,” written by a girl named Hannah Schoechert when she was in seventh grade:

Those twin towers standing tall with pride, fell with grieving hearts. Stunned, America cried. But we’re still standing. Bin Laden tried to crush our land, but we stood our ground with our flag in hand. And we’re still standing. Red for valor and the blood that fell. White for purity our heroes tell. Blue for the justice that will be done, proving once more these colors don’t run. And we’re still standing.

The night ended with “God Bless the USA” (“Proud to be an American”) playing from the speakers.

Welcome to the discussion.