East Meadow community members and the East Meadow Fire Department gathered for the remembrance at Veterans Memorial Park on Sept. 11.
As town supervisor Kate Murray declared, this ceremony in the town square "commemorates the firefighters, police, EMS and all other responders including the clergy who made the sacrifice to save thousands of people's lives."
Firefighter Glenn Carpentier urged the community to think of these solemn ceremonies on Sept. 11 as more than a remembrance of the past, more than a tribute to the lives lost; they should be thought of as celebrations of and tributes to both the living and the dead.
"Americans will be meeting like this every September 11, to refresh our memories of what we've learned that day in 2001," Carpentier said. "The age old verities: duty, loyalty, self-sacrifice and love still have meaning and still flourish in the hearts of ordinary people we live and work with everyday."
Fire Department Chaplain Douglas Wood called attention to the ordinary men and women who should be viewed as paragons of real heroes.
"Celebrities may hold our interests but they have no ability to inspire us to live great lives," Douglas Wood said. "By contrast, heroes invite us to grow. They enlarge our imagination; they teach us to think big and expand our sense of possible." For Wood and many others at this ceremony, 9/11 has forever changed the way people view emergency response teams because of their heroism and resolve, as Carpentier states, "to chose duty in the face of death."
Members of the community, John and Kathy Novelli, shared what this day means to them. It is "a day that changed the way we think about our security, honor, duty and love of country."
Other members of the community, such as the Boy Scouts, show their unwavering support to service workers by attending the ceremony every year since its inauguration in 2002.
"This day hits me deeply," Scout Leader Ian Fried said. "I had family at ground zero and at instant command centers in NYC." Proudly, Fried declared his plans to join the youth squad and become a paramedic so he too can join the many American heroes dedicated to helping others.
The United Methodist Church of East Meadow Choir and the Firefighter Pipes and Drums added to the ceremony's spirit of reverence as they filled the air with melodies.
Carpentier concluded the ceremony with one final proclamation—a proclamation that little Dominic from the community reiterated with flag held proudly.
"Stand united," Carpentier said. "Always remember and never forget."