Category Archives: Merrick

To Light a Candle… 9/11

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
September 11, 2017

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.

Sept. 11, 2012 - Merrick, New York, U.S. - LYLA W., 3, and KATE O., 2, helping place 500 Luminary Bags (votive candle in each bag will be lit at dark) in front of 215 Wenshaw Park homes, on 11th Anniversary of 9/11, by Wenshaw Park Civic Association (WPCA), Long Island, with over $500 already raised for Twin Towers Orphan Fund. (Ann Parry/-)

Merrick, NY, USA. Sept. 11, 2012.  LYLA W., 3, and KATE O., 2, help place 500 luminary bags (votive candle in each bag will be lit at dark) in front of 215 Wenshaw Park homes, by Wenshaw Park Civic Association, Long Island, to raise funds for Twin Towers Orphan Fund.  (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

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.

Fund raiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall, New York, USA. Rep. Pete King shown with Ray Pfeifer and the firefighter's wife CARYN, daughter TAYLOR, and son TERRENCE. (Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

East Meadow, NY, USA. March 31, 2012. At fundraiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer – battling cancer after months of recovery efforts at Ground Zero following 9/11 2001 Twin Towers attack – are, L-R, in front row: son TERRENCE, daughter TAYLOR , wife CARYN, and, in back row: RAY PFEIFER, and Congressman PETE KING (who helped fight for World Trade Center Health Program), at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall. (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

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….”

Manhattan, NY, USA. March 17, 2009. FDNY firefighter LUKE ALLEN wears in his hat a card with photo of his older brother firefighter RICHARD D. ALLEN, one of 343 FDNY firefighters killed responding to terrorist attacks on Twin Towers 9/11. (© 2009 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Manhattan, NY, USA. March 17, 2009. Marching in St. Patrick’s Day Parade, FDNY firefighter LUKE ALLEN displays on his hat a photo of his older brother firefighter RICHARD D. ALLEN, one of 343 FDNY firefighters killed responding to terrorist attacks on Twin Towers Sept. 11, 2001. (© 2009 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

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.

Removing American Flag to reveal monument made with steel from World Trade Center, at the Merrick Post #1282 American Legion Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 ceremony, are (left to right) Rabbi Paul Kirchner, Father Eric Fasano, Adjutant Robert Tom Riordan PCC, and North Merrick Fire Dept. Ex. Chief Henry Hinrichs, at Merrick Veterans Memorial Park, Merrick, New York, USA, on September 11, 2011.(Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. Sept. 11, 2011. Removing American Flag to reveal monument made with steel from World Trade Center, at Merrick Post #1282 American Legion 10th Anniversary of 9/11 ceremony, are (L-R) Rabbi PAUL KIRCHNER; Father ERIC FASANO; Adjutant ROBERT TOM RIORDAN, PCC; and North Merrick Fire Dept. Ex. Chief HENRY HINRICHS at Merrick Veterans Memorial Park.  (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Our neighbors across the street lost their son who worked in the Twin Towers.

A Grand Avenue coworker lost her first responder firefighter husband, and two of our students lost their fathers.

During lunch period, a fellow teacher told us how ever since 9/11 he was having nightmares about being trapped underground.

And American flags multiplied everywhere, and so did patience and kindness. I didn’t notice a car horn honking for at least a year.

And we also had color-coded terrorism threat advisories….

Manhattan, NY, USA - January 9, 2012: Movie poster

Manhattan, NY, USA.  January 9, 2012. Movie poster EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is displayed lit at night over Penn Station subway entrance with Empire State Building in background. Fictional movie is set at time of 9/11 terrorist attacks on Twin Towers in NYC. (© 2012 Ann E Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Since 2001 our country and many others continue to have terror threat alerts — for events, buildings, airlines & metros, cities…. 

And I do feel a bit reckless, a tiny bit brave, heading to Manhattan when a terror alert’s been issued.

North Bellmore Fire Department 9/11 remembrance ceremony and unveiling of two pieces of steel from World Trade Center added to existing 9/11 monument, North Bellmore, New York, USA, on September 10, 2011. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Bellmore, NY, USA. Sept. 10, 2011. North Bellmore Fire Department 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and unveiling of two pieces of steel from World Trade Center added to existing 9/11 monument. (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

My young grandson and younger granddaughter, along with all children, can only imagine the world before 9/11/2001 through images and stories that grow older as they do.

And I can barely begin to imagine the feelings and pain of those killed, injured, struck with cancer, and of those who lost loved ones, due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

With gratitude to the first responders and other 9/11 heroes – and with hope – I can never forget.    – Ann

East Meadow, New York, USA. Summer 2017. Four birds fly over Twin Towers sculpture monument at Eisenhower Park 9/11 Monument section. (Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

East Meadow, NY, USA. Sept. 10, 2017. Four birds fly over Twin Towers steel sculpture at Eisenhower Park 9/11 Monument. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb

9/11 Over the Years:   GALLERY

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“American Grit” Contestant Chris Edom has Backyard Viewing Party

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry  (ann-parry.com)
July 8, 2017

“American Grit” Season 2 contestant Chris Edom lives right here in North Merrick!

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. In backyard of

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” contestant Chris Edom (lower left) walks up to where the TV show’s logo appears on the large screen in his family’s backyard during their Viewing Party. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Chris – who described himself on the Fox reality TV show as being bullied and picked last for teams when he was a kid – invited every adult neighbor on both sides of the block his family lives on to the Viewing Party he and his wife Joan hosted for the premiere of the new season.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017.

Merrick, NY USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” reality television show contestant CHRIS EDOM and his wife JOAN EDOM host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

The night of the party, when I parked my car, slung my camera across my chest, and walked across the dead end street, I thought back to the 1960s when it was actually a mostly-dead end (as Miracle Max from Princess Bride might put it).

Back then, its rounded end had a limited outlet that brought extra cars and pedestrians, including my best friend Judy and me walking to and from school each day.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. At bottom left, CHRIS EDOM,

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. At bottom left, CHRIS EDOM, “American Grit” TV contestant, hosts backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. On screen are 3 of the 4 “Cadre” team leaders: (L-R) JOHN CENA, JOHN BURKE, and RIKI LONG. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Eventually the outlet closed altogether, and now curbside basketball hoops bloom each summer, and it’s common to see families chatting, children playing….

But that Sunday night, the block felt – uncommon. The air itself seemed charged with some special energy that grew stronger when I joined the crowd at the Viewing Party.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017.

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” TV contestant CHRIS EDOM (at bottom right, wearing white GOT GRIT? T-shirt) sits with his wife, JOAN EDOM as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

What a turnout! About 60 of Chris and his wife Joan’s family, neighbors and other friends filled the Edoms’ backyard to watch the first episode.

Before the episode started, Chris had the biggest smile as he told everyone how close the contestants have stayed, how many will be getting together to watch a future episode, and how they’re his American Grit family.

Then the words “American Grit” filled the huge inflatable screen borrowed from a neighbor. The show began. Guests cheered when Chris appeared on screen, held their breath when challenges got tough, and waited in suspense to find out: 

Will Chris be picked for one of the 4 teams — or will “the last kid picked for teams” be the first contestant “ringing out” of the competition and the chance to win the cash prize at end of “American Grit”?

Merrick, New York, USA. June 11, 2017. American Grit TV show contestant CHRIS EDOM (wearing white

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. During “American Grit” Season 2 premiere Viewing Party at contestant Chris Edom’s backyard with large TV screen – Edom (center below) plunges into lake after pulling rip cord. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

  • UPDATE July 16, 2017:  Chris made two important decisions during tonight’s episode, and still is a contestant on American Grit.
  • UPDATE August 6, 2017:  Chris Edom did Merrick proud by coming in 5th Place during tonight’s Season 2 Finale!   —  At the Open House Viewing Party held at ‘Cadre’ Rikki Long’s gym in Copiague, fans joined ‘Cadre’ John Burke and some contestants, including Chris with his wife Joan. The two fans from my family who were there enjoyed cheering for Chris and meeting such friendly cast members.

Chris Edom’s twitter:  @chris_edom

“American Grit” Viewing Party:  GALLERY

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