Firefighters and community members paid tribute to seven residents and 19 firefighters from local Squad 288/Hazmat 1, whose names are engraved on the memorial at the center of the park.
Throughout the ceremony, many highlighted the importance of continuing to remember the events of that day and those who were affected on the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
“Too often we take for granted that there is a new generation that does not remember the horrors of that day,” said Kenneth Rudzewick, longtime resident and president of Maspeth Federal Savings.
Rudzewick said the tragedy remains an open sore for many New Yorkers as first responders continue to be affected by that tragic day due to conditions they faced at Ground Zero.
This past April, Maspeth resident Lieutenant Mario Bastidas died due to cancer related to his rescue efforts at the site in the aftermath of the tragedy. He was a 26-year veteran of the FDNY EMS.
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell said it's the community’s duty to teach new generations what occurred that day and why.
“It shows that our community remembers and that’s the important thing,” he said.
Councilman Robert Holden said the losses suffered by local Squad 288/Hazmat 1 forever changed their families and the FDNY.
Squad 288/Hazmat 1 suffered the single largest loss of life of any FDNY firehouse on 9/11.
“A total of 51 children from teenagers to a two-week-old baby were left fatherless when the firefighters of Squad 288/Hazmat 1 perished,” he said. “These men were beloved husbands, sons, and brothers.”
Rudzewick concluded the ceremony by thanking first responders for their service.
“They keep America safe and still the best place on Earth,” he said.