New York City Remembers 9/11 Victims on 16-year Anniversary

NY Daily News - September 13, 2017

by NY Daily News

The memories — and heartache — of the families of 9/11 victims were as poignant Monday as at any point in the past 16 years.

The spouses, siblings and children of those who died in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 made the solemn pilgrimage to Ground Zero, where bells rang out and flowers were laid near the engraved names surrounding the reflecting pools that sit where the twin towers once stood.

“Now all we have is memories and your picture in a frame,” said the sister of victim Debra Ann DiMartino, 36, who was an assistant stock trader.

“We thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new."

The sister of 35-year-old victim Alejandro Castano said, "A life like yours not many have seen, but you lived life like one of the crazy ones — you lived life for love and for your family.”

She added, “I speak to you constantly, because I know you're listening. Being a father, a brother, an uncle, a son — you played every part.”

"Another year you are not here, but you are at peace."

Thomas Joseph Selleck's brother said, “He was spontaneous, loving. He could make you smile — make you laugh without telling a joke. It was just kind of a gift that he had.

"We love him and miss him, and that's about all you can do."

The annual event commemorates the 2,983 people killed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on Flight 93 when it crashed in Shanksville, Pa. The six people killed in the 1993 WTC bombing were also remembered at the ceremony.

Beginning at 8:46 a.m., the moment the north tower was struck by a plane hijacked by terrorists, the ritual of reading the names of the dead took place.

With breaks for the tolling of bells — at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m. when the south tower was hit, 9:37 a.m. when the Pentagon was hit, 9:59 a.m. when the south tower fell, 10:03 a.m. when Flight 93 crashed and 10:28 a.m. when the north tower fell — the reading of the names took three hours and 40 minutes.

"We love and miss you," read the brother of fallen Port Authority Police Officer Christopher Charles Amoroso.

"Thank you for your bravery that day — I don't think I could ever match you."

"Sixteen years have come and gone. You left very big footprints to fill, mom," read victim Barbara Walsh's daughter.

"Your grandbabies would make you so proud, mom."

Relatives of the six killed in the 1993 attack also participated in the ceremony, along with an honor guard made up of representatives from the FDNY, NYPD, and Port Authority Police Department.

Gov. Cuomo, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman were among the attendees.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made appearances as well.

President Trump spoke at the Pentagon and O’Neill recalled three cops he knew personally who died that horrible day.

As commander of the 25th Precinct in East Harlem, O’Neill said he was acquainted with Emergency Services Officers John D’Allara, 47, Joseph Vigiano,34, and Mike Curtin, 45, who were members of Truck 2 that operated in upper Manhattan, and died on 9/11.

Vigiano’s son, also named Joseph, became a police officer and is currently assigned to the 75th Precinct in East New York.

“I'm happy for him to be here, and there's a lot of work to do and it's a great opportunity to continue your parent’s legacy,” O’Neill told WPIX.

Earlier in the interview, O’Neill spoke more broadly about the ripples of grief cascading down through the years.

“In so many respects, it seems like it just happened yesterday. Sixteen years is a long time but ... It's just a solemn day,” he said.

“We always say we'll never forget, and we don't. It's so important not to forget for the families. This is a very important day for us. It's a day of reflection, but it's also important to be vigilant.”

Trump, meanwhile, noted that 7,000 Americans had lost their lives fighting the war on terror since 9/11.

“We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary anywhere on this very large earth,” he said.

“Every person who puts on the uniform has the love and gratitude of our entire nation,” he added. “Today as we stand on this hollowed ground we are reminded of the timeless truth that when America is united no force on earth can break us apart.”