BY SHAMS TAREK
Memories of Sept. 11 begin, for most Americans, with images of terror – the burning towers fading into ash.
Sept. 11, 2002 started in Queens at 1 a.m. at the very edge of the county’s border, with the pounding of drummers and the wail of the bagpipers resounding through the darkness of the borough in a 19-mile procession to Ground Zero.
Members of the Port Authority Police Department’s Pipe and Drum Band stepped-off at Northern Boulevard and Glenwood Street in Little Neck, and gathered civilian marchers as they journeyed through the borough. Approximately 50 civilian marchers from the borough joined the procession at its start and hopped on and off as it made its way along the length of Northern Boulevard.
During the first few blocks of the procession, several families with candles and flags cheered the marchers on.
At the end of the 19-mile, seven hour journey, which went over the Queensborough Bridge and to the east side of Manhattan, the Queens marchers met processions from the other boroughs, which started between 1 and 3 a.m. The citywide delegation then marched in unison down a ramp into the seven-story pit that now marks the spot where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood.
The wind was the only sound at 9:59, when a moment of silence marked the fall of the South Tower. The silence was broken by the morning’s first tolling of bells, and a poem read by a young girl who lost her father on Sept. 11.
At 10:29, more bells tolled, as a ship’s horn blew in from the Hudson and another moment of silence marked the fall of the North Tower, the wind gusts fell to a whisper.
When the reading of victims’ names began by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 8:50 a.m., the wind gusted again.
A brief sunshower started at 11:18, just as the last victims’ names were read and New Jersey Governor James McGreevey read from the Declaration of Independence, ending the memorial.
A New Dawn: The Morning Of Sept. 11
BY ANGELA MONTEFINISE
As the sun rose over Northeast Queens on the morning of Sept. 11, 2002, residents tried to follow their usual routines and prepare for work or school, without letting the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks affect them too much.
At the QM1 bus stop on Union Turnpike and 260th Street in Glen Oaks, a line of men and women in business suits waited for the bus, with stock broker Maria Thomas told the Tribune, “I’m trying to let this be a normal day. It’s going to be hard, but I’m trying . . . I didn’t watch the news this morning like a usually do. If I did, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be home crying.”
Banker Ashrit Persaud agreed with Thomas, and said, “I didn’t want to leave my house this morning. We have to, of course, or else the terrorists win. But I didn’t want to leave my wife and kids. For the first time in a while, I’m afraid to go to work. All these memories are back.”
At a Mobil Station on Little Neck Parkway and Union Turnpike in Bellerose, cab driver and Douglaston resident Boba Sadhi pumped gas into his yellow taxi, and said he was dreading his day of work. Sadhi was on the Queensborough Bridge when the Towers fell, and said, “I’ll never forget that. I kept those thoughts inside all year, and now they’re back. When I drive through Manhattan, I know that it’s going to be eerie and upsetting.” He then pointed to an American flag at half-staff in the Stein-Goldie Memorial Triangle across the street. He said, “That’s even a reminder of the pain. It’s going to be a tough day.”
At the Bayside Kiwanis Memorial on the Long Island Railroad overpass on Bell Boulevard, commuters stared at the flowers and hand-written messages, and Auburndale resident Jessica Thorton told the Tribune, “This is why we have to go to work today. For these people. We can’t let terrorists scare us into staying home.”
Joel Lipschitz, a Bayside resident, added, “Look how far we’ve come since last September. When I look at this memorial, I don’t cry anymore. I feel strong and proud. These people are watching over us. It’s going to be hard to focus, but I’m going to work.”
At around 8:46 a.m., when the bells tolled at All Saints Church in Bayside and Queens College in Flushing, a packed memorial service was being held at Our Lady of the Snows Church in Floral Park, while the flag at North Shore Towers in Floral Park was being pulled to half staff and the City was engaging in a moment of silence. Students at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside arrived, and many were wearing red, white and blue.
Eddie Riccardo, a sophomore and Bayside resident with an American flag in his hat, said, “We have to honor this country today. It’s so important. My dad’s a police officer, and thank God he wasn’t there, but he could have been. We have to appreciate those who were lost.” His friend Andrea Aris added, “People think we’re too young to understand, but we do. This country deserves our respect.”
At PS 31 in Bayside, young children arrived with flags and America tee-shirts, and one parent said, “If there was anything positive that came out of Sept. 11, it was that we found America. My kids love America. They have become so patriotic. I think we were losing that.” He added, “I guess the terrorists failed. They wanted to pull us apart. Well, my kids wouldn’t be bringing flags to school if not for Sept. 11.”
Honoring Our Son
The following is a] Sept. 11 tribute in honor of our son Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, the first marshal to die in the line of duty in the fire department.
In 1978 he joined the Fire Department where he served with Engine 95, Ladder 2, the Fitness Unit on Randalls Island and Rescue 1.
Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca
In 1986 while fighting a fire he fell five stories. He broke his back and kneecaps and was in a body brace for six months. Just a week later he returned to his fire unit, Rescue 1. Later he became a fire marshal, was with the department for 23 years, the last nine as a fire marshal.
In 1973 he joined the Army active duty for two years with the 101st Airborne and chosen “Soldier of the Month” in 1974. When he was discharged he joined the Army Reserve, that he was still in for 29 years. He served in the Special Forces, Green Berets and the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2001 he was promoted to Warrant Officer, U.S.A.R.
He led a very active life and since his fall in 1986 he didn’t waste a minute, accomplished many things he wanted to do.
He was a fireman, soldier, Lic. Practical Nurse, adventurer and could talk about almost any subject. Historian of the Civil War, did archaeology work in Spain, collector of model trains, metal toy soldiers, scuba certified, physically fit.
He was a fun loving, compassionate person who would do anything for you if possible, always there to help a relative, friend or even a stranger.
I cannot find the words to express how we felt and got through this year. Seems like a dream or nightmare. I can still see him coming up the path to visit us. I say “Good night” to him and “Good morning Ron” to his picture every day.
He left his lovely wife Even, children Jessica and Sonnie, he was their Dad, best friend and always there for them. Happy memories they have with their Dad. I don’t know how our daughter-in-law did it, but she was a tower of strength for us all even with a broken heart and we love her.
Ronald had two brothers, Robert and Alfred, his wife Celeste, son Joey and his family. A cousin “Firefighter” Frank Fiore who was like Ron’s third brother. They hurt every day.
As for my husband Joe, I see the pain in his face, he suffers every day. We’re just not the same people these days. A big part in our lives is gone. Ron had so much going for him and planning for his retirement.
He’ll always be with us. Till we meet again Ron. God bless. Love ya! Mom, Dad & family. Greatly missed by everyone. Families of Samuelson, Fiore, Mitchells, Buccas
We would like to take this opportunity to say our sincerest “thank you” to all the uniform, construction and civilian workers for all they did at “Ground Zero” all those months, also on Staten Island.
Our son Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca was on the 78th floor of Tower 2 along with Batt. Chief Palmer when it collapsed. They found Ronald’s remains on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2001 and he was buried on Saturday, Nov. 10. He was found in a stairwell with some other people.
We are thankful they found him and that we have a place to visit and talk to him as I know he’s watching us and waiting for us up in heaven. God bless all those who perished and their families.
Astrid Bucca & family, Oakland Gardens
One Year Later: Sun Shines On Bayside Firefighter’s Family
BY ANGELA MONTEFINISE
The sun broke through a long patch of rainy days to beam on 53 members of Bayside Firefighter Michael Mullan’s family this August when they visited relatives in Ireland on a “memorial trip” to talk about their hero, who lost his life saving others at Ground Zero on Sept. 11.
Theresa Mullan, a Bayside resident and mother of 34-year-old Michael Mullan, told the Tribune that relatives from across the United States went on the trip to meet with family members living overseas, and to comfort each other about their loss as the one-year anniversary of the attacks approached. Theresa said the trip was the first time that all members of the Mullan family were in the same place at the same time, and the first time that many family members were meeting each other.
She explained, “If he was alive, Michael would have orchestrated this trip
Bayside resident Michael Mullan is still brightening his family’s days, even after losing his life on Sept. 11.
. . . . When we first got there our relatives told us that they hadn’t had a sunny day since April. Wouldn’t you know it, the whole time we were there, it was sunny and beautiful. That was Michael’s blessing to us. He made sure that we had perfect weather.”
While in Ireland, members of the local police and fire departments honored Mullan, and Theresa said, “They felt the tragedy very, very deeply over in Ireland. To many Irish, America is like a second home.”
Theresa said that while in Ireland, she and her husband Patrick met a couple who had lost a daughter in the tragedy. “I wanted to be there for them. You know, in Ireland, they don’t have the support system that we have here. When they met me and Patrick, they just cried and cried. We cried and we listened. I’m so glad that we could help,” she said.
The Irish couple is just one family that Theresa is sending mass cards to this week in honor of the anniversary of the fall of the World Trade Center. She said that she and her husband Patrick are going to spend Sept. 11, 2002 at Ground Zero, and, “It’s going to be a day of remembrance for us . . . It’s very, very hard and very overwhelming. You know, when it first happened, we were scared and shocked. There was such support, and so many people looking to comfort us. We kept ourselves busy at memorials and other things. There were other emotions involved. Now, it’s just sadness, and it’s sinking in.”
Theresa said through tears that her family would “definitely get through this,” and said, “So many terrible memories are coming back. But we will all get through this and be stronger.”
Mullan, a musician and raging Yankees fan, worked for Engine Company 3, Ladder Company 12 in Manhattan, and was working a 24-hour shift on Sept. 11 because he was covering for a friend. “He was doing someone a favor,” Theresa said. He called his parents on his way to the Twin Towers on the morning of Sept. 11 to explain what was going on, to tell his family that he loved them, and to say “goodbye.” Theresa said, “He never said goodbye. It was too formal for him. But that morning, he did.”
Mullan was a member of the Army Reserves at Fort Totten, worked at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Center, Long Island and St. John’s Hospital on Queens Boulevard, and was studying at Hunter College to become a nurse practitioner. He graduated from Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Cross High School and already received a nursing degree from Queensborough Community College. He joined the Fire Department in 1994.
The City Council is expected to approve renaming the piece of Jordan Street where Mullan grew up Michael Mullan Way this week, and Theresa said, “He would have loved that. He truly loved his neighborhood. He was a Bayside kid at heart.”
Baby Float Carries A Giant Heart
BY BEN ABELSON
A Hamilton Beach woman and her family will pay their tribute to the hundreds of New York Firefighters killed at the World Trade Center with a very special entry in the annual Hamilton Beach Baby Parade.
Last year, when Barbara York built a float for the parade, her brother-in-law Raymond was so impressed that “he offered to help me out [the] next year,” Mrs. York said.
Raymond R. York was a Firefighter with Engine 285 in Ozone Park. He died in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, just days after the 2001 Baby Parade. He never had a chance to help his sister-in-law build her float.
This year, Barbara York and her husband, Richard, decided to commemorate last year’s tragic events by dedicating their float to the NYFD – in a special way. Their six-foot long cardboard float is a miniature fire engine, complete with bright red paint and mock ladders. The outside of the float is covered with pictures of all of the New York Firefighters who died last year, and the side reads “In Memory of 343 Firefighters Who Gave Their Lives on 9-11.”
“I honestly felt that [Raymond] was with me, building it with me,” York said.
The rain over Labor Day weekend forced the parade – usually held on Labor Day — to be postponed until Sept. 14.
A Tribute To Raymond York
Me and my four brothers and sisters grew up in Howard Beach in an apartment in what the locals call “town” which is near the H.B. train station. Our parents brought us up to be good people who care about one another and are always patriotic Americans.
Growing up my oldest brother would always treat me special. I remember him having fun while teaching me to tie my shoes. I will never forget how my father wasn’t able to always be around so Ray said to me, “Richie, dad’s not here but I’m like your father.” Ray loved to teach me to catch or throw a baseball or football. He was creative and loved to dress me in Halloween costumes he would create. He loved to paint also. He also loved rock ‘n roll and would sing the Beatles or Rolling Stones songs and I remember him teaching me the words to “Your Song” by Elton John when it first came out. He taught me what types and how to enjoy the music I would love all my life…
Ray started working young at “New Park Pizza” then “The Bow Wow,” then became a plumber and then to Housing Authority Maintenance and in 1981 he became a N.Y.C. fireman. He loved Engine 21 in Manhattan but when he won custody of his daughter in 1992 he transferred to Engine 285 in Ozone Park so he could walk her to school and then walk to the firehouse on time.
He was known as Mr. Mom to the firemen. A fellow fireman introduced Ray to his sister Joan and he told me about how beautiful and smart she was. He looked at me as he said she has three kids. Michael, the youngest, was just a baby then. Ray was in love and told Joan, “it will all work out.” Ray became the father they deserved.
Ray fell from a ladder on Engine 285 and his arm was operated on but it was a permanent disability so he was put on light duty at a place call the “Fire Zone” in Rockefeller Center where a group of actors and one fireman teach fire safety to families. It was undoubtedly the perfect job for Fireman Ray. The actors there tell me other firemen do the job as they were supposed to, but when Ray was on they had to compete for time because he loved to teach and keep the children’s attention in a way only Ray could master.
Since 9-11 I’ve become more spiritual, partly because of the last day I spent with my brother Ray which I believe was a gift from God. I met him at his house early and we went to the Yankee game, which Pettite lost 9-1, but it was a beautiful day so we were about the last people to leave the stadium that afternoon. He then brought me to a restaurant he liked on the water and then to the bar by his house. We talked about everything and everyone important to us while enjoying great music on the jukebox. Being he was on light duty with 3/4 pay and he had 20 years in he applied to retire for October 1. We had been in business for five years together years ago, so I was looking forward to what business he would get me into when he retired. We laughed all day.
On Sept. 11, Ray was at the Fire Zone and heard the second plane hit the W.T.C. so he ran to the nearest firehouse and they were out on a call so he went back to the Zone and grabbed the equipment they had there and said, “see ya.” The security guard there told him, “Ray, they want off-duty or retired guys, you have a job here.” But he wouldn’t stop so he said, “God bless you,” as he hitchhiked on a T.V. satellite truck to 23rd Street traffic and then ran to 14th Street. From there he got on the back of an ambulance downtown, and ran across Vessey Street to West Street. A fire marshal friend of Ray’s hugged him there and said, “Ray the South Tower has fallen and the North will too, so the chief says to evacuate.” But the fire marshal says he couldn’t believe his eyes. Ray was braver than brave. Everyone was running away by then, but Ray headed toward the North Tower and as he left, he saw the building falling.
At Engine 285 Ladder 142 the guys say that even though he was gone a year already and was set to retire they feel the loss that a piece of the puzzle is gone permanently.
Our family has been constantly staying in touch since Sept. 11. Mom, dad and all of us are dealing with the loss differently but we are trying to take care of each other. Sometimes anger and emotions come out. . .
I do know that Ray died trying to save some of the greatest people on earth . . . ordinary Americans. In the Elton John song Ray sang to me as a kid, there are lyrics that now I sing for him . . . “I hope you don’t mind that I put it down in words . . . how wonderful life is, while you’re in the world.”
Thank God I had a brother, Ray. I love you brother, have a cold Bud ready for me when I get to heaven. Thank you for being there for me.
God bless America.
P.S. Ray’s kids are Kristen, 15, Kristina, 14, Robbie, 11, and Michael, 9.
Photog’s ‘Tower Of Light’ Shines As Symbol
BY BEN ABELSON
When your fingers do the walking on the SuperPages in Manhattan, it’s the image captured by a Queens photographer that will capture the spirit of New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
Astoria resident Peter Basich received a unique honor when Verzion Information Systems announced that it would use Basich’s photograph of the World Trade Center’s “Tower of Light” tribute on the cover of the SuperPages Community Magazine inserted in its 2002-2003 Manhattan SuperPages directory.
Basich’s photo features the light display offset by an illuminated Brooklyn Bridge, symbolizing New York’s loss and resiliency in the wake of Sept. 11.
“It’s a very spiritual image,” Basich said. “The light reminds me of all those lost souls whose lives were sacrificed by these terrorists, and [yet] there is still connection to the earth – those who are left behind will always remember them.”
Basich, a Department of Transportation (DOT) Bridges office manager, said he took the once-in-a-lifetime shot when he went out to the bridge with his boss one night in early April and stopped at a restricted area. “He had the access to that location, which is closed off…he sort of became my assistant that night,” he said.
Since Basich took the photo during the course of his duties with the DOT, he won’t receive any money for its publication – it’s officially City government property. However, that doesn’t seem to bother Basich, who said he wouldn’t accept any money offered for the picture. “I’m just happy to share this with anyone who has an interest in it…[it] reminds us of what we went through, the fact that we’re still standing, and [that now] we’re moving forward.”
According to Basich and DOT officials, the picture is also likely to be featured on the cover of Time Inc.’s 2003 World Almanac.
After serving in the army in the early 1960s, Basich studied photography at the now-defunct Germain School of Photography. Soon after that, he began working in commercial studios around New York City. When slowing business and new technologies caused him to join the DOT 12 years ago, he thought he’d hung his camera up for good. However, ever since his photographic background was discovered, he’s served as an impromptu photographer for DOT engineers, brochures, and government awards ceremonies.
A Visitor’s Vision
I am a fire officer from Kyiv, Ukraine, temporarily housed in Fort Totten. I did not lose any of my closest ones on Sept. 11, 2001, but I saw the tragedy by television. It was horrible.
Besides, I remember well what the Chornobyl disaster (Ukraine, 1986) meant for firemen and other people . . . . to those who don’t consider themselves a widow, but still the wife of a dead fireman from the FDNY: You ask, “Why his death? Tell me why?”
And we say unconvincingly, “Well, that’s life,” to console her a little.
And we look for some comforting word that could help us at last to be heard ‘cause we feel that if we fail, it’ll bring no solace to the fireman’s wife.
And then suddenly we understand that “Life” is a word and we are answering, “Yes, that’s Life!
That is not his death, that’s his Life!”
Volodymyr Knyr ,
By the river,
A swirling fury,
Top to ground,
Brave firemen enter Hell,
But Heaven met.
All is now darkness,
Their fate set.
And never forget.
A Time To Honor, A Time To Remember
BY MARIA HERNANDEZ
Today I took the train just like any other day not expecting to see what I was going to see. Unbeknownst to me, this morning was different. As the train took its normal route, the conductor announced that it was an A train going express to Brooklyn and local to Manhattan.
As we got to Manhattan, the conductor said, “We will not be stopping at Broadway/Nassau & Chambers St.” Normally, the announcement would have been Chambers St./World Trade Center, but there was no World Trade Center.
As we rode through Broadway and Chambers Street, the train passed very slowly as if it was mourning our fallen brothers and sisters, our American Family.
There was an eerie feeling in the air – a newsstand bearing witness to the unforeseen tragedy as it displayed its newspapers with their front covers full of sadness. The stairs were covered with soot; it looked like a station in the desert. Everyone engaged in a conversation stopped suddenly in silence. Some people looked, others bowed their heads and yet others closed their eyes. It was as if everybody on the train was in a silent prayer paying tribute to the fallen.
We were mourning them. What got my attention was that there was a distinct odor. It wasn’t an odor like previous times. It was different, indescribable. It was so silent and so sad. I thought, “What do I tell my children?” How do we explain to our little ones what has happened so that they can understand how sometimes people can be so evil and hateful? I don’t think we will ever be able to convey and explain it to our innocent children. How do we explain to them that in a country where we can talk freely and live freely without breaking the laws of the land, things like this can happen? Just how do we explain?
We Americans will stand together and stand tall. This terrible act will not bring us down. On the contrary, it will make us stronger than ever. We will never forget our fallen heroes or the people who lost their lives that terrible Tuesday, Sept. 11. Our flag with its stars and stripes will shine brighter and fly higher than ever.
God bless us all, especially the families of the missing, the hurt and the perished.
I am proud to be an American!
Hear our voices
Feel our pain
Please don’t let us
Die in vain
Calm our families
Let them know
How much we love them
Before we go
Keep our loved ones
In your prayers
Don’t forget us
Through the years
No more crying
No more tears
God is with us
Have no fear
By Roberta Casillo
Finding A Smile After 9/11
By Robert Trotta
Here is my story about my hero, my cousin, Thomas Farino.
On Sept. 11, 2001, many people lost their lives while trying to save others . . . As sad as I was and remain about the entire tragedy and the personal fact that I lost a family relative – my cousin Mary’s husband, Battalion Chief Thomas Farino of the New York City Fire Department – I have to say that I find myself smiling up at the sky.
Because there is a new hero in my life that I salute each day I wake up.
As a teacher at John Adams High School in Ozone Park, I have told and continue to tell my students about Tom. He is the person I admire, one of the incredibly brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice that tragic day in order to help and save the lives of others. On the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster, I will proudly be teaching with a picture of Tom clipped on to my shirt. . . .
Tom grew up, in fact, in Ozone Park. The son of a police officer, Tom’s destiny also put him in the city service, first with the NYPD for two years, and then as a firefighter. At Engine Company 302 in Ozone Park, Tom was promoted to Lieutenant, and later was placed at Engine Company 26, in Midtown Manhattan. At Engine 26, the ambitious and dedicated firefighter was promoted to Captain. It was while working at this engine company that Tom was called to respond to the attack at the World Trade Center. It was here where Tom and 342 other firefighters/brothers showed the utmost courage and unselfishness.
Tom was posthumously promoted to battalion chief.
Tom’s wife Mary, and their two children, Jane and Jimmy, are currently collaborating with others on the construction of a playground at the John Pearl Elementary School located in the family’s home community of Bohemia, Long Island. The colors chosen for the playground – expected to be completed in October – are red, white, and blue. The playground, which is being funded by the Thomas Farino Memorial Fund, will give students the opportunity to learn physical skills, in addition to providing a place for children to enjoy time with their families and friends.
I’m sure Tom is smiling down on Mary, Jane, and Jimmy. I know he’ll be smiling down on the playground…And I am positive that I’ll keep smiling up into the sky, giving a thumbs up to Battalion Chief Thomas Farino, a loving father and husband, and a true hero. Thank you, Tom. I love you.
Memories: Our Daughter – Jennifer Wong
By Ben Wong
Sept. 11, 2001 came and went . . . but unlike other ordinary days, this day will be remembered all around the world for many generations to come . . . .
As we reflect upon Jennifer’s life, we thank God for allowing us to have her for 26 years. It was 26 years of joy and happiness and many wonderful memories. We are so proud of the person she has become through the years. We are especially thankful for her love and commitment to God.
For all of you who have encountered our Jennifer through the course of her life, we want to thank you for your part in making her the special person she was . . . May we always remember Jennifer and smile.
Jennifer was indeed very special and accomplished much in her short 26 years. After graduating from Townsend Harris High School in 1993, she went on to Binghamton University, SUNY and graduated in May 1997. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Management Information Systems.
Upon graduation, Jennifer’s first career opportunity was with The Bank of New York where she worked as a Systems Liaison from 1997 to 1999. In 1999, Jennifer went to work for Marsh & McLennan as a Business Analyst.
A Memorial Scholarship was presented to three Townsend Harris High School seniors. We believe the memorial scholarship will be a symbol of hope, joy, and love in our remembrance of Jennifer.
From Jennifer’s Grandparents
The 911 incident brought with it sudden suffering . . . The entire world felt this sorrow.
My young granddaughter Jennifer worked on the 96th floor of One World Trade Center and lost her life in this tragedy.
As grandparents, we felt the painful loss of our vibrant granddaughter. We can only ask for God to comfort and uphold every single family who has lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Queens Colleagues Remember Volunteer EMT
BY BEN ABELSON
The Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corp held a day-long ceremony on Sept. 11, 2002 to mourn the loss of lives at the World Trade Center – including one of their own.
Richard Allen Pearlman of Howard Beach, was the only member of the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corp. (FHVAC) to die in the collapse of the World Trade Center. FHVAC held a small ceremony, attended by Assemblyman Michael Cohen and Councilwoman Melinda Katz, and remained open for the “entire neighborhood” throughout the day. FHVAC also held a candlelit tribute to Pearlman, where they presented an award to his mother, Dori Pearlman.
On Sept. 11, 2001 Richie was working delivering paperwork to Police Headquarters when news of the attacks reached him and he raced to help in the rescue effort.
Richie’s picture appeared in Newsweek magazine. He was helping an injured woman with other EMS workers. He went back into the towers and was never seen again.
At Camp Aquehonga, where Richie was a staffer, he served in the trading post, services, assisted the commissioners and as office manager. While in the office, Richie found his calling, nicknamed “mother.” He was called that for the way he doted on injured campers and staff men. Richie was a trained first aid technician, but his specialty was psychological first aid. He could calm down the most upset injured scout and scouter alike, sometimes with just a smile. He also helped the camp medical staff. When the nurses weren’t around, Richie helped me – the E.M.T. backup. He kept track of the camper’s medications and made sure they took them, when scheduled. Richie enjoyed his summer and being an Aquehonga staff man.
Richard Pearlman is survived by his mother – Don, father – Barry, sister – Lisa and his EMS & Scouting families.
(Glen Schneider contributed to this story.)
Whitestone Company Works For Heroes’ Families
BY ANGELA MONTEFINISE
In honor of the one-year anniversary of the fall of the World Trade Center, Borough President Helen Marshall and Congressman Gary Ackerman joined the pharmaceutical distribution company Kinray Incorporated this week for a memorial and check presentation to the families of four local Sept. 11 heroes.
Emergency Service Police from Truck 10 in Flushing reflect and remember fallen comrades.
Over 300 people attended the memorial outside of the company’s Whitestone office on Sept. 11 to watch the company present $25,000 checks to representatives for the families of Police Officers Thomas Langone and Paul Talty, Firefighter Vincent Morello and Fire Lieutenant Kenneth Phelan. Although none of the heroes’ families were able to attend, fellow police and fire officers accepted the donations.
The company’s President and Chief Executive Officer Stewart Rahr has worked since the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred to help the families of police and fire officers, holding a memorial on Oct. 11, 2001 and sending supplies to Ground Zero. The monetary donations to the families came from a portion of the company’s revenues, donations from customers and donations from all of the company’s 700 employees. Rahr said of the four officers, “This is a memorial for these fine people and for all those lost in the murderous attacks on our City and country. Their lives and the broken lives of their families are in our hearts and memories . . . I’ve never been more proud to be an American or more proud of America.”
Marshall said that the Kinray Company’s donation made her “proud to be the Borough president of Queens,” and said, “I hope as a community and a borough, we continue to comfort all those still in pain.” Ackerman presented Kahr with a proclamation naming Sept. 11, 2002 Kinray Day and the flag that flew over the Capitol on Sept. 10, 2002.
Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman, members of the cable show “The God Squad,” also attended the ceremony, and spoke to the crowd.
Fire Lieutenant John Urbielearicz, Phelan’s best friend, accepted the donation for the Maspeth firefighter, whose first date with his wife was a Mets guy, and who he described as a “Queens guy through and through.” Phelan was raised in Queens, was the first person baptized at Our Lady of Hope, and raised his four children – Kimberly, Erin, Kenny Jr. and Danny – in Queens.
Fire Lieutenant Jim Halaby accepted the check for Morello’s family, who live in Middle Village. Morello took a $40,000 pay cut to become a firefighter instead of a fire mechanic, and dreamed of working in the firehouse his father worked in. He reached that goal one year before Sept. 11.
Police Detectives Steven Stefanakos and Richard Winwood accepted the checks for the families of Talty and Langone, both of whom lived in Long Island but worked as members of Emergency Service Unit 10 in Flushing. Talty was also a Flushing native. Stefanakos said that both officers were assigned to go into Tower Two, but before they left, Langone said to Stefanankos, “Be safe bro. I’ll see you in a little while.”
During the ceremony, Kinray released doves into the sky, and after the ceremony, Kinray released 2,801 red, white and blue balloons to represent all of those killed in the World Trade Center collapse.
A Fitting Memorial: Queens’ Voices On The WTC Site
BY SUSAN LEE
The Queens families of Sept. 11 victims and their neighbors joined together at LaGuardia Community College on Aug. 29 to add their voices and their imaginations to the planning of the future of the 16-acre site that used to be home to the World Trade Center.
Officials from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey listened as some suggested cultural amenities like a museum be included, and others said that the site should be left as a cemetery.
Many victims’ families that attended expressed anger at the LMDC and the PA for giving precedence to plans to have commercial and retail space and less consideration for their visions.
Patrick L. Cartier Sr. of Jackson Heights, who lost his son James in Tower 2, had harsh words for past proposals, saying that the greed of business owners had enveloped the planning of the site. “This has just become all about money, that’s all it’s become,” he said.
Maureen Santora, mother of 23-year old firefighter Christopher Santora, agreed that the families have not been included much in past planning, but she felt this Long Island City meeting was a step in the right direction. And Santora noted that it was only this week that she received a letter from Mayor Bloomberg inviting her to memorial services and expressing his condolences.
“[Bloomberg] has not given families advanced notifications . . . We are not being dismissed and not really being considered an important element.”
Andrew Winters of the LMDC assured that public involvement would be key in the request for proposals this time around. At the Queens meeting, the LMDC presented very broad plans for including elements of a memorial with a preference for recognition of the footprints, a change of the street grid, a connector over West Street, parks and recreation, commercial office space, and retail space.
LMDC’s plan is to expand the design efforts and draw input from the design community. Up to five teams are going to be selected for design plans by LMDC on Sept. 30 and final drawings and plans have to be submitted by Nov. 30.
Memories Of Falling Towers Haunt CB Chair
BY ANGELA MONTEFINISE
When Community Board 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty sees footage of Sept. 11 on his television set, he’s quick to turn it off.
The horror of that day is too “overwhelming” for Kelty, who has been a member of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) for 23 years, and is currently a Captain of Manhattan’s Engine Company 10 – the company located directly across the street from the World Trade Center.
At the one-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Kelty said “a lot of really bad memories are coming back to the surface . . . . I just started to get over that. Now, with all the pictures on television, it’s all coming back . . . I find I don’t like to watch TV now.”
On the morning of Sept. 11, Kelty headed to lower Manhattan to lend a hand to the rescue efforts, and said he was inside the firehouse when the first Tower collapsed. He was able to run out of the area, but the firehouse was badly damaged, and five firefighters from his house were lost. Kelty said, “I’ll never forget those guys. Everything we do now is in memory of them . . . There were a lot of heroes at Ground Zero that don’t get mentioned, and we always have to remember them.”
Kelty said he’s glad that the City has been recovering over the past year, but said he is “worried” about the families of those who were lost on Sept. 11. He said, “I just hope the families can recover. A lot of my guys are still having problems. Some have moved forward, but others have moved backwards. I’m a little worried about that.”
Currently, Kelty’s firehouse is being repaired, and Engine 10 and Ladder 10 – the companies that shared the house – are operating with Engine 71 and Ladder 1 in Manhattan. He said his house is scheduled to be repaired in March, and said, “That’s going to be very hard. The Trade Center is going to get repaired, and we’re going to have a lot people coming in to say “hi” and ask questions. And we love their prayers and their thanks, but sometimes, we need time to ourselves. We’re going to have to ask people to respect our time, which won’t be easy.”
Kelty said at presstime that he planned to spend Sept. 11 with “his firefighters,” and said he hopes the public will respect the Fire Department’s desire to be alone in “quiet solitude” on the anniversary. He said, “A lot of guys just want to be together to comfort each other . . . It’s real hard on the anniversary. It really is. The old memories are so painful.”
Kelty said his friends at the Community Board “kept him going this past year,” and laughed when members brought him this month’s special edition of US News and World Report – which he is featured in – to autograph at their Sept. 9 board meeting. Kelty, said he was “just one of many” who made a contribution, and signed one magazine, “In memory of my firefighters.”
Jamaica Artist’s Book Preserves Unique Perspectives Of Sept. 11
BY STEPHEN MCGUIRE
Following the rallying cry of “we will never forget,” a Southeast Queens artist has come up with the idea for an interactive book that aims to capture the grim reality of the attacks through art and preserving personal histories of the aftermath for future generations.
William West, a self described “poetical, graphical” artist from Jamaica is the author of The Landscape Of Ground Zero, a collection of words and artwork that captures the days and weeks at Ground Zero after Sept. 11 and gives readers a chance to write their reactions.
“After seeing many photographs of Ground Zero, particularly in regards to the lives that were lost and the heroes that evolved from that tragic event, I felt the need to present the Landscape of Ground Zero,” West said.
“Because this an ever-evolving story with so many points of view, I felt that you should become part of this written story. Therefore I have provided space for you to write how you feel directly under each picture.”
“The poetry captures the mood, feelings and the facts about what happened that day. The lines underneath are for you, as owner of the book, (to) write your comments, share your feelings and thoughts and pass on your thoughts.”
The pages of The Landscape At Ground Zero, are filled with West’s artwork depicting the days after the terrorist attacks.
His one-of-a-kind artwork and the way it was created is a “trade secret,” he explained.
West said the idea for the book about the attacks came three weeks after Sept. 11, when he saw a television news segment that explained there were few words in history textbooks about the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
“I felt I should do something,” West said. “ I said, ‘this has to go down in writing.’ That was the impetus.”
That’s why his book includes lines for comments, he said.
“What I want to happen when they read – I want to know how they felt. If it helped them convey thoughts and feelings.”
The tears welled up in his eyes as he recounted Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was at home,” West said.
He explained the fear he felt knowing that his wife Princess, who works for the New York Stock Exchange and sons Christopher, a 21-year-old computer networker, and William Jr., a 23-year-old emergency medical technician, might have been near the attack site.
Each time the phone rang the tension grew.
“My son Chris called alerting me to what happened” and to let me know he was all right. West said. “Then some people from my church called.”
“I was nervous,” he explained.
West said he breathed a sigh of relief when his wife called him that evening to let him know she was all right.
Later he was informed that William Jr. was not stationed near Ground Zero that day.
His family was safe, but he remained haunted.
That’s why he hopes that his book and art collection, “will serve as a historic reminder of what happened and why we must as a country continue to pray and guard our liberty.”
Rename Street For Flushing ‘Kid’
BY ANGELA MONTEFINISE
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Firefighter Scott Kopytko was returning to his Manhattan firehouse after finishing an overtime shift when he saw his company’s firetrucks pulling out of the station.
When he heard what was going on at the World Trade Center, he joined his fellow firefighters, and rushed to the scene to rescue those trapped in the burning Twin Towers.
Firefighter Scott Kopytko – a “great kid.”
Kopytko, a 32-year-old Flushing native who was only a few credits away from obtaining his master’s degree in finance at St. John’s University, was last heard from on the 71st floor of the South Tower, the first building to collapse. Ironically, Kopytko used to work in the South Tower for a commodities firm, but left the company when it moved to Chicago.
This week, at a Sept. 9 Community Board 7 meeting, Kopytko’s mother Joyce Mercer tearfully asked the board to ceremoniously rename the Greenstreet Triangle between Oak Avenue, Quince Avenue and 158th Street in Flushing after her son, who she called, “a great kid.” After giving Mercer a standing ovation, the Board obliged, and the full Council will vote on the name change in the next few months.
Mercer, who attended the meeting with her husband Russell, told the Tribune that dealing with the loss of her only son has been harder near the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11 than ever before. She said, “It is so much harder now. I don’t really know why. I guess when it first happened, we had some hope, you know. We had so much comfort and so many other things to deal with. Now we have to face this. Reality is setting in, and it’s hard.”
Mercer explained that Kopytko’s remains were never found, and while the family held a memorial service for him on his birthday, she said they never felt closure. She said, “We have to deal with it. Everybody dies. But there are certain things you do, and one is you have a funeral with a body. We didn’t have that. It’s just extremely difficult.”
Kopytko was born at Flushing Hospital on Dec. 2, and attended school at PS 163, St. Anne’s School, and Francis Lewis High School. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer science at St. John’s University, and worked in the finance industry before taking the Fire Department test in 1993. Five years after taking it, he was called into action, and worked at Ladder Company 15 for three years before he was called to the Trade Center on Sept. 11. He was in graduate school for finance, and Mercer said, “He was so close to getting it. It’s such a shame.”
Mercer wasn’t sure what she was going to do on Sept. 11, 2002, but said, “It will be a day to remember him. It will be very painful, but we have other families around us, and we’ll get through it . . . We have no choice.”