County Marks 21st Anniversary of September 11th
Overlooking both The Rising Memorial and the recently added Westchester County 9/11 First Responders Memorial, Westchester County Executive George Latimer joined with County residents to mark the solemn 21st anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
“Twenty-one years have passed since that tragic day. Twenty-one years of a new world. While we have all have had our own experiences since that day, it is our shared experience that still brings us together,” Latimer said. “Since that shared experience, we have new loved ones to mourn due to that day, and this year we honor them by adding 25 additional names to the 9/11 First Responders Memorial. We mourn, remember and continually say the names of those we have lost, for they will never be forgotten.”
The County’s ceremony, emceed by News12 Journalist Lisa LaRocca and overlooking the beautiful Kensico Dam, was a service marked with moving speeches, music and solemn prayers by Reverend Tim Dalton, Imam Shaffieq Chace and Rabbi Scott Weiner.
The ceremony opened with a procession by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Ceremonial Unit Color Guard, the Pipes and Drums of the Police Emerald Society of Westchester County and representatives from various fire departments County-wide.
White Plains Department of Public Safety Commissioner, and 9/11 First Responder David Chong, then led the ceremony attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by County Department of Correction Sergeant Joetta Crump’s singing of the National Anthem.
The solemn occasion was then marked by the laying of a wreath by Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, Department of Emergency Services Commissioner Richard Wishnie, Acting Department of Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor, Lisabeta Vukaj, sister of Simon Marash Dedvukaj who was killed in the north tower, and Sarah, Oliva and Anna Woods, the wife and daughters of 9/11 First Responder Sergeant Peter Woods. Woods was a member of the NYPD, Hartsdale Fire Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Westchester County 9/11 First Responders Memorial. Woods succumbed to a 9/11 related illness prior to the public unveiling of the now one-year-old memorial.
Board of Legislators Chairwoman Catherine Borgia then gave remarks. Borgia said, “It is important for us to gather every year to honor those lost on September 11th and from serving the rescue and cleanup during the weeks following the attack.”
The day prior to the ceremony, September 10, Latimer was joined by family members of those who have passed from 9/11 related illnesses for a private unveiling of the 25 new names added to the County’s 9/11 First Responders Memorial. This one-year-old monument, placed next to The Rising at Kensico Dam Plaza, was designed by a committee made up of loved ones of those lost.
Committee Co- Chairs New York City Police Officer Matthew J. McCauley and Georgia Asciutto said, “On behalf of the families of Westchester’s Fallen 9/11 First Responders, we thank County Executive George Latimer for his leadership, support and unwavering commitment to our lost heroes and his resolve to keeping their memories alive and their contributions honored.”
The ceremony continued with the reading of the names of those Westchester residents killed on 9/11 and those Westchester residents who have died from 9/11 related illnesses by Westchester County Legislators, District Attorney Miriam Rocah, County Clerk Tim Idoni and family members of those lost.
The tribute concluded with a moment of silence, flyover by County Police, a performance of Taps by Mount Pleasant Police Officer Peter Blume. Musicians from SUNY Purchase then played as attendees made their way to The Rising and the 9/11 First Responders Memorial.