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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.

SLIDESHOW:


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, New York, 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, New York, 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, New York, 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 9/11/20101 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.

But 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:  SLIDESHOW |  GALLERY

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Wantagh Warriors Baseball & Miss Wantagh Pageant, July 4th

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry  ann-parry.com
July 5, 2016

SKIPPER the Jack Russell terrier was one of many celebrators dressed in patriotic red, white and blue when awards were handed out, and the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony was held, following the Wantagh Independence Day Parade yesterday morning.

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. Skipper the Jack Russell terrier is wearing patriotic red white and blue stars bandana at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony, an Independence Day tradition on Long Island. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Wantagh, NY, USA. July 4, 2016. Skipper the Jack Russell terrier is wearing patriotic bandana at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony on Long Island. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

I wore sunglasses, but the harsh midday sun made me wish I’d also brought my From Long Island cap.

Wantagh WARRIORS Baseball Team 2016

The crowd cheered loud and long when members of the winning Wantagh WARRIORS baseball team lined up to receive certificates issued by the Nassau County Supervisor.

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. High school Wantagh Warriors baseball team members receive Certificates issued by Nassau County Supervisor at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant, an Independence Day tradition on Long Island. The Wantagh Warriors baseball team won another county championship, its third Long Island Championship and its second New York State Class A championship. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. Wantagh Warriors baseball team members receive Certificates issued by Nassau County Supervisor at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

During 2016, the Warriors baseball team won yet another county championship, its 3rd Long Island Championship, and its 2nd New York State Class A championship.

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. Teams members of the high school Wantagh Warriors baseball team receive Certificates issued by Nassau County Supervisor at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant, an Independence Day tradition on Long Island. The Wantagh Warriors baseball team won another county championship, its third Long Island Championship and its second New York State Class A championship. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. Teams members of the high school Wantagh Warriors baseball team receive Certificates issued by Nassau County Supervisor at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

MISS WANTAGH 2016

During this special 60th anniversary, quite a few former Miss Wantaghs  – both from recent years and decades ago – participated, wearing their banners and crowns.

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. EMMA CAREY, newly crowned Miss Wantagh 2016 (front row 3rd from right) and other present and past contestants pose for group photo at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony, an Independence Day tradition on Long Island. Since 1956, the Miss Wantagh Pageant, which is not a beauty pageant, crowns an area high school student based mainly on academic excellence and community service. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. EMMA CAREY, newly crowned Miss Wantagh 2016 (front row 3rd from right) and other present and past contestants pose for group photo. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

LYNN CLAYTON-LUONGO, Miss Wantagh 1956 – the first Miss Wantagh – travelled from Everett, Massachusetts, for this special anniversary event.

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. LYNN CLAYTON LUONGO, Miss Wantagh 1956, 76 years old, the first Miss Wantagh ever, participated in the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony, an Independence Day tradition on Long Island. Clayton was the 1st Runner Up and Miss Congeniality in the 1958 New York State Miss Ameria Pageant. Since 1956, the Miss Wantagh Pageant, which is not a beauty pageant, crowns an area high school student based mainly on academic excellence and community service. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Wantagh, NY, USA. July 4, 2016. LYNN CLAYTON-LUONGO, Miss Wantagh 1956, the first Miss Wantagh ever, participated in the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

In 1958, when Clayton was 18, she was Miss Congeniality and First Runner Up in the New York State pageant of Miss America. But Miss Wantagh isn’t a beauty pageant. It crowns a Wantagh resident in high school based mainly on academic excellence and community service.

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. Standing L-R, EMMA CAREY; BRIANNA COLTELLINO; KERI BALNIS, Miss Wantagh 2015; STEVE RHOADS, Nassau County Legislator District 19; MAUREEN O'CONNELL, Nassau County Clerk; and ELLA STEVENS, Miss Wantagh Pageant coordinator; at the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant, an Independence Day tradition on Long Island. O'Connell is opening envelop to find who Miss Wantagh 2016 is - Emma or Brianna. Since 1956, the Miss Wantagh Pageant, which is not a beauty pageant, crowns an area high school student based mainly on academic excellence and community service. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Wantagh, New York, USA. July 4, 2016. Standing L-R, EMMA CAREY; BRIANNA COLTELLINO; KERI BALNIS, Miss Wantagh 2015; STEVE RHOADS, Nassau County Legislator; ERIN KING-SWEENEY, Town Councilwoman; and ELLA STEVENS, Pageant Coordinator; at 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Crowning. King-Sweeney is opening results envelope, so she can announce Miss Wantagh 2016 – Emma or Brianna. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Results of this year’s pageant:

  • EMMA CAREY – Miss Wantagh 2016
  • BRIANNA COLTELLINO  –  1st Runner Up
  • GRACE ANNE McKENNA  –  2nd Runner Up
  • COURTNEY CARDONA  –  3rd Runner Up
  • ISABELLA SANTERAMO & KAYLA SCHMIDT – Ambassadors

Officials included Hon. CHRISTOPHER QUINN, Supervising Judge of Nassau County Court; ERIN KING-SWEENEY, Town of Hempstead Councilwoman; STEVE RHOADS, Nassau County Legislator, District 19; and ELLA STEVENS, the Miss Wantagh Pageant Coordinator.

Wantagh WARRIORS Baseball Team:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY

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