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There was a distinct emotional feeling among attendees at Maspeth Federal Savings’ annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony this year as the community marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
As it is annually, the ceremony was held in front of a 9/11 monument in Maspeth Memorial Park dedicated to the 19 firefighters from Squad 288/HazMat 1 and others from the community who lost their lives on that morning.
The Squad 288/Hazmat 1 firehouse, which is located just off the memorial park, had the single largest loss of firefighters of any FDNY firehouse on September 11.
But this year’s ceremony looked a bit different, with the gate surrounding Memorial Square behind the monument adorned with banners displaying the names of the firefighters from Squad 288/HazMat 1.
Each name was read aloud at the event.
Kenneth Rudzewick, host of the event, cited the importance of holding memorial ceremonies like this one every year.
“This is a 20-year journey that has affected most of our lives, remembering the attack and marking it is vital,” he said. “There is no better way to honor the lives of those heroes taken in 2001 than to protect and honor their fellow rescuers of today.”
The ceremony included words from Vincent Tomeo, a retired high school teacher and poet; music from husband-and-wife duo Bill and Liz Huisman, and the singing of the National Anthem by Kathleen Nealon.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to sit here for the last 20 years,” said Nealon. “I keep all of those who died on 9/11 and their families in my prayers always, as well as those who have died from 9/11-related illnesses and continue to suffer from that day.”
In addition to the 343 firefighters killed directly in the attack, 253 later died due to complications from their rescue work at Ground Zero.
Maspeth Federal Savings continues to honor them and add them to the memorial, including Firefighter Thomas Oelkers, who died just this May from a World Trade Center-related illness.
Congresswoman Grace Meng and Councilman Robert Holden discussed the importance of not only remembering and honoring the lives lost, but also how to carry out justice on their behalf in the present day.
Meng said that Congress is working on a resolution to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to ensure that New York’s future generations never forget the events of that day.
“We are also working on a bipartisan basis to make sure that we are fully funding the health programs that will benefit so many of the victims’ families and to take care of those who are still with us,” she said.
Holden, alongside the Juniper Park Civic Association, has fought to have the Maspeth firehouse recognized as a landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission turned down their request because it was constructed too recently.
“The Landmarks Preservation Commission will have to landmark this,” he said “We’re not going to wait 30 years.”
Monday, Aug. 30
Luis Quinde was arrested at Cypress Avenue and Hancock Street for driving while intoxicated by Officer Troia.
Andrea Nunez was arrested at 60-47 68th Road for burglary by Officer Arfeen.
Destiny Martinez was arrested at 60-47 68th Road for burglary by Officer Arfeen.
Tuesday, Aug. 31
Vanessa Mendez was arrested at Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street for felony assault by Officer Martinez.
Curtis Edwards was arrested at 1675 Cornelia Street for criminal possession of a weapon by Officer Nessler.
Jansen Edwards was arrested at 1675 Cornelia Street for criminal possession of a weapon by Officer Nessler.
Jessica Signorello was arrested at 1643 Hancock Street for criminal contempt by Officer Etienne.
Wednesday, Sept. 1
Michael Castro was arrested at 69-62 Grand Avenue for criminal trespassing by Officer DeFreitas.
Joshua Vega was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for criminal contempt by Detective Scrimenti.
Nelson Pineda was arrested at 79-67 78th Avenue for criminal contempt by Officer Combs.
Thursday, Sept. 2
Olga Hanisz was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Detective Lodato.
Jason Fajardo was arrested at 1741 Norman Street for resisting arrest by Officer Lenoci.
Valon Stublla was arrested at 1877 Cornelia Street for burglary by Officer Foppiano.
Magdaline Duncan was arrested at 432 Stockholm Street for criminal mischief by Officer McMahon.
Jade Williams was arrested at 432 Stockholm Street for criminal mischief by Officer McMahon.
Christopher Tierney was arrested at 877 Wyckoff Avenue for burglary by Officer Santos.
Charles Deveau was arrested at 607 Seneca Avenue for felony assault by Officer Etienne.
Giuseppe Spataro was arrested at 61-19 Linden Street for arson by Officer Petito.
Friday, Sept. 3
George Fehem was arrested at 62-53 69th Lane for misdemeanor assault by Officer Jaswal.
Chelsea Chiguani was arrested at 1037 Seneca Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Prizeman.
Ramon Arroyo was arrested at 80-07 Myrtle Avenue for criminal obstruction of breathing by Officer Gonzalez.
Danielle Lindemann was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for felony assault by Detective Rogers.
Miriam Delossantos was arrested at 1673 Linden Street for felony assault by Officer Fitzalbert.
Saturday, Sept. 4
Justin Dixon was arrested at 1671 George Street for obstruction of governmental administration by Officer Duran.
Sunday, Sept. 5
Julia Kelert Drzewiecki was arrested at 65-22 Metropolitan Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Gonzalez.
Piotr Pisarski was arrested at 60-40 Madison Street for misdemeanor assault by Officer Villada.
Omari Sanuel was arrested at 72-35 Cypress Hills Street for misdemeanor assault by Officer Chowdhury.