During the Reading of Names of the 348 Nassau County residents who died as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on September 11, 2002, each speaker ended by sharing about the loved one lost. Greg Hoffman was one of those readers (from above video):
“For my identical twin brother, Stephen Gerard Hoffman: It’s been 19 years, Steve, when you took Madeline to kindergarten. She’s a teacher now. She’s 24, and she’s beautiful. You’d be so proud of her
“One thing special about, unique about, September 11 is that the day of terror doesn’t end.
This January we buried a young man, Jim Bass. He was NYPD.
Age 30 he went onto the pile
Age 49 he died of the cancer
“May they all rest in peace.
“May God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change
Courage to change the things we can
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
FEATURE PHOTO at top of post : Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY. Sept. 10, 2020. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is wearing a face mask with an American Flag design at the county’s 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, ALL PRESENT wore face masks if they couldn’t social distance.
On each anniversary of September 11, 2001, but not only on each anniversary, I remember the events of that day and how they’ve changed our world.
On Sept. 11, 2001, we were a week or so into the new school year at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore, Long Island. Except for our class computers suddenly losing internet access early that morning, it began as an ordinary Tuesday.
Then, as students passed from one class to another, a few of my writing students came in announcing news they’d heard on the radio in art class: “Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers!”
“What?!” I said. “Well… one plane might have that sort of accident, but not two – the same day. Someone must’ve heard the info wrong.”
But, over the loudspeaker later that morning, our principal, Fino Celano, gave us the news – calmly, solemnly – of the terrorist attacks on Manhattan’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon… then the plane crash in the Pennsylvania field. No one had heard the info wrong.
When I got home from school that afternoon, the tile floors our construction workers had ripped up from the kitchen and surrounding rooms the day before were more scattered than stacked. We were replacing our radiant in-floor heating, and the ground floor looked “like a bomb went off” – though I felt guilty even having that thought.
So the night of September 11, 2001, my husband Len, my older daughter Sue and I ate dinner at a local cafe.
Throughout the meal we watched the news coverage of the attacks on the TV up in the corner, and whispered “Nightmare… surreal… oh my god….”
My younger daughter Laurie was at college in Westchester. During one of our calls later that week, I told her I wanted to get her a cell phone, especially because of her trips between college and home.
Though she didn’t think she needed one, by the end of the call she understood that her mom really needed her to have one.
UPDATEJuly 30, 2019: Head of the U.S. Executive Branch signed bi-partisan 9/11 Victim Compensation bill: “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.”