Editor’s note: On Thursday, Sept. 11, Floral Park community members and officials assembled at the village’s 9/11 Relic Memorial at village hall for a remembrance ceremony. The following is Mayor Thomas Tweedy’s memorial speech.
“Reverend Clergy, members of the Floral Park Fire Department, members of the Floral Park Police Department, distinguished guests and fellow Floral Parkers.
“Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of our village board may I welcome you and thank you for joining us on this solemn occasion. When Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked on the evening of September 11, 2001 for a number of how many were lost, the mayor prophetically responded ‘more than anyone can bear.’ The reality of that answer haunts us all each day and ever more poignantly this day. And while 13 years have passed, no words can dampen our grief nor assuage the pain we feel at the loss of our loved ones. For these eleven names inscribed in these stones before us, family members, friends, neighbors — are representative of the hundreds of others — family friends and neighbors, each of us together hold in our hearts today and the thousands more we remember as New Yorkers and Americans. So today we gather to reflect and to pray as a free people and caring Village in loving memory of all those souls as we dedicate and commemorate the final phase of our 9/11 Relic Memorial in their honor.
“This new reflection space is founded upon a beautiful act of compassion not surprisingly a generous act provided by our greatest volunteers. On October 1, 2011 we dedicated this monument. On September 11, 2012, many residents came to this place — to be near steel from the World Trade Center — and perhaps providing a necessary connection to the site of their loss. Also present at that time were members from our Hook & Ladder and Alert Engine Companies. Seeing the visitors arriving, several members quickly ran up the stairs and brought down chairs for those visiting to sit comfortably with their thoughts. A living manifestation of the heart of a firefighter — recognizing, responding and providing comfort — I shared this story with Architect Frank Gunter, the Relic Memorial’s designer, what we see today is our response to their act of charity and love. This simple, dignified contemplative space and relic stone marker for all to experience.
“My thanks to the Floral Park Fire Department, its Chiefs’ Staff and Ceremonial Committee, to Bagpiper Michael Cantillon, to the Relic Committee, especially Ex-Captain Mike Saville,
Architect Frank Gunther, the men of the Department of Public Works for their dedication, effort and determination which made this memorial possible – I would especially like to publicly recognize Senior Maintainer Rob Reilly, Groundskeeper Larry DeCiantis, Supervisor of Parks Russell Mazzola, General Supervisor Richie Albertson, Superintendent of Buildings and Department of Public Works Steve Siwinski. And to the Holy Spirit Choir who sang so beautifully. Thank you also to Senator Jack Martins and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solanges for their attendance. To the many contractors, mechanics and tradesmen who contributed their talents so freely to the completion of this lasting memorial, you have my deepest gratitude. Any finally, our Village Clerk Susan Walsh who attended to the myriad details in completing this project and preparing this ceremony we observe today.
“Ladies and gentlemen, evil may have brought down the Towers but it did not bring down our hearts, our nation or our American way of life…May we never forget and may God bless America as he continues to bless all…in this place we love…our home…Floral Park.”