BY JAMES FARRELL
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) carried out an annual ritual to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: laying wreaths at 28 sites in his district that were renamed for those who died that day or in the ensuing wars in the Middle East.
The tour started at Vincent Cangelosi Memorial Way—a street by the St. Mel’s Roman Catholic Church in Whitestone that was renamed for Whitestone resident Vincent Cangelosi last year. It also contained sites renamed for firefighter Michael Haub and Transit Police Officer Thomas R. O’Dea.
“I think it’s, first of all, a remembrance,” Avella said after tying a wreath to the Vincent Cangelosi Memorial Way street sign. “And for a lot of the families, it’s still important. Some of them have moved on, some of the families will meet us when we get to their particular site, but I think it’s important for the community to remember: these were your neighbors who passed away on that day.”
Avella said that he started the tradition while representing the City Council’s 19th district and began renaming sites around the district. Those renamings continued with his predecessor, Dan Halloran and the current Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).
“It was really heart-wrenching because they all had lives and they all had families that they left behind,” Avella said. “And to meet some of these families and, you know, try and help them in their grief and just put up these locations and let people know that these are people in their own neighborhood, whether police officers or firefighters who became heroes and rushed in to try and save people or the workers, the people who just went to work that day, became martyrs in the cause of freedom. It’s something we will never forget.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.