Sep. 12, 2023 By Ethan Marshall and Paul Frangipane
Queens community leaders and residents gathered at Memorial Garden in Bayside Hills for a memorial honoring those lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Among those present for the memorial gathering were Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Council Member Linda Lee and Bayside Hills Civic Association President Judge Jerry Iannece.
Despite the rain coming down, dozens of residents gathered at the small square behind the Horace Harding Expressway. Attendees huddled together there, many of whom had umbrellas in hand.
“Behind every number there was a name, there was a family, there was a dream cut short, so may their memories forever be for a blessing,” Richards said. “We have to remember on that day, they didn’t care what your party affiliation was, your race or your class. They cared that we were American. They wanted to cut out the heart of our democracy. And on that day and those weeks after that, may we be reminded of the good acts, how we all came together. We must continue to still come together.”
In addition to remarks by local officials, the memorial service included a presentation from the local boy scouts, a singing of the National Anthem, a prayer from Rabbi Gordon Yaffe and a rendition of “Proud to be an American.”
“It’s important that the next generation continue to honor those we lost on 9/11, that they remember that it’s not a statistic, each and every one of those lives lost to us New Yorkers was a friend, was a neighbor,” Braunstein said. “It’s important to remember that while we witnessed the worst evil we’ve seen in many of our lifetimes, we also saw the true beauty and character of New Yorkers who stepped up. It’s also important to remember those who continue to die after 9/11 from related illnesses. Soon there will be more lives lost than those lost on that day.”
“For the next generation, it’s important for us to remember why it was so important for us and why it’s still so important to fight for our freedom and fight for this amazing country that we love so much and to continue that fight,” Lee said.
Those who gathered for the memorial were invited to place candles and miniature American flags at the memorial plaque, which was designed by Iannece.
“It’s hard to imagine that 22 years have passed since that horrific day,” Iannece said. “On that day, we saw the worst in men and the best in men. A bunch of terrorists thought it was a great idea to take civilian planes and crash them into civilian buildings with the idea of inflicting the most pain, suffering and death that they possibly could with the idea of destroying America. And they failed because of what’s best in humanity, because of the bravery of our firefighters, our police officers, all the uniformed officers that ran toward those buildings when other people ran away.”