An outpouring of tributes from elected officials on Saturday, Sept. 11 commemorated the loss of 2,977 people from around the world, including the Caribbean, who died in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago at the World Trade Center.
New York State Senator, Roxanne J. Persaud, of the 19th Senatorial District, hosted a 9/11 – 20 Years Remembrance event in Canarsie Park, Brooklyn, in partnership, with Assembly Members Nick Perry and Jamie Williams, District Leader Frank Seddio, Council Member Alan Maisel, and Community Leaders SueAnn Partnow and Melba Brown.
Sen. Persaud recalled the horrors of 9/11 in being on lockdown for many hours at her then office at 1 Police Plaza, and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge covered in soot, with thousands of people before finding refuge at the Marriot Hotel.
She said Sept. 11 is also the day of her mother’s birthday, as she mourns the loss of a friend, and sympathize with a relative who lost a child.
“For many of us there are lots to remember other than the towers coming down, and the lives that were lost,” said Sen. Persaud whose cousin’s flight to the US had to be diverted to Puerto Rico.
She extended condolences to immediate past president of WIADCA, Jean Joseph, whose nephew Fitzroy St. Rose perished in the attacks, and read the names of nationals submitted by the Guyana Cultural Association NY Inc. before thanking her staff, all the organizations, elected officials, and the community, for participating in the day of remembrance.
“We are here on this solemn day to remember what happened 20 years ago at the World Trade. There was agony and tears. Families lost their loved ones,” said Assembly Member Nick Perry.
“The whole world was attacked in that event, even though it happened on American soil. It was an attack on our freedom and democracy, an attack on the liberties that we enjoy here in the United States of America, and we endeavor as Americans to spread as the message for the world of how people should live with opportunities to develop and enjoy life, with equal treatment for all, not withstanding the color of your skin, or the texture of your hair,” said Perry.
“We have to reflect on the good that came out of that devastating attack on our freedom. America pulled together on that day and for a long time thereafter. It showed our resilience, and the people that we are, and should always endeavor to be, caring for each other, looking out for each other, grieving with each other with you’ve lost loved ones, living as a country looking out for each other, and banding together as a county, as neighbors, as a village that cares for everyone.”
“Sept. 11 brought out the best in us. It was the worse of times, but America was together that day. We don’t have that now we are broken up into sections of interest that is very concerning to me, and I am sure to a lot of your here,” stated Perry.
He called for communities to get back into the spirit of togetherness, and not be blue or red, black or white, but to be Americans, loving each other and caring for each, and most of all, looking out for “our country.”
“I urge you, as we reflect on the tragedy of Sept. 11, to remember the good we get for looking out for each other. My condolences to all who lost loved ones. We pray for those families who lost loved ones, and thank, bless, and praise our heroes, those who survived and those who died,” he said, and called on God to bless America.
Assembly Member Jamie Williams showed emotion as she remembered families left behind, noting the sacrifices that had to be made, children left without fathers.
“No one should have to be going through this. Where there is despair there is hope,” she said. Williams called for continued support and resources to be offered to families, before reading prayers from Saint Francis of Assisi.
Frank Seddio, who carried the Stars and Stripes, said the flag has stood behind him every time he remembered victims lost.
“It was primary day, and I had a perfect view from PS 22 in Brooklyn, and saw the twin towers in flames, after someone had called to say there was an accident at the WTC.
“It was an act of terrorism on the people of the United States, we spent 20 years, and trying to eradicate,” he said in reference to American soldiers in Afghanistan.
“We must remember as patriots, as people who believe in this great country. We must be prepared to defend our nation and be prepared do whatever is necessary to eradicate evil, not only in the United States, but every place evil raises its ugly head.”
“We must not only remember and commemorate a day of tragedy, but act on it, to do the things necessary so events like these don’t happen again. We must have faith in our government.”
Seddio thanked leaders for making a difference, not only in Canarsie, but also in society. “May God bless America,” he said.
SueAnn Partnow, reflected on that tragic day, and called the Canarsie 20 who died — innocent people who went to work, and on the airplanes, that perished.
“We remember and honor the lives lost, the blowing of the wind, and in the chill, we remember them. For long as we live, they too, will live for they are now a part of us. We remember them,” she said.
Melba Brown recalled that chilling day while teaching a class in Brooklyn, bringing into focus then President George W. Bush, who declared, “although the terrorist attacks can shake the foundation of our massive buildings, the terrorist attacks are not able to touch the foundation of America.”
“Just remember we are not alone, God is working behind the scenes. Reach out for help if you need it. May the souls of the deadly rest in peace,” said Brown.
Ms. Kamla Millwood, “Peach the Duck” children’s book author, effectively guided the order of the program that was blessed by Edward Kane of Holy Family RC Church, who remembered the finest, bravest, survivors and those who saved the lives of others.
Imam Ahmed Mogalli Alhadae of Canarsie Islamic Center, in turn praised the proceedings, translated by Dr. Abdul Malik, that said, “Islam is a religion of peace, irrespective of race or religion. We are a community and religion without hate toward anyone. Thank you. We are with you in the United States of America. We are one.”
Punctuated by moments of silence, for the attack on the North and South Towers, the ordinance, was celebrated with praise dance, You Are My Strength by Chaplain Faith Williams, and a Pray for Unity, by Rev. Cecil Moonsam of the 69th Pct. Clergy Council.
This was touched by a rendition of The Lord’s Prayer by Joy Riley, who also sang the Star-Spangled Banner.
The comforting voice of young soloist, Taylor Boyce, celebrating her birthday, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and a moving ballot, while Inga O’Neal recited, “The Standing Flame.”
Bishop Dr. Cheryl Barker, of Consuming Fire Ministries Int’l Inc., and Rev. Gesner Sagesse extended blessings, followed by Paul Curiale, executive director of Millennium Development, who reflected on the poignant afternoon proceedings. Members of the Lions Club, contributed, while Mercedes Narcisse and Monique Chandler-Waterman attended.