BY ROBERT KNIGHT
Hundreds of Clarkstown and Rockland County residents attended the annual 9-11 ceremony outside Town Hall Monday, many weaping as familiar names of deceased residents were read aloud, each followed by a mournful ringing of a memorial bell by a police department honor guard.
A total of 82 names were read and remembered, all from Rockland and 26 of whom lived in Clarkstown at the time of their tragic death on Sept. 11, 2001 when Arab terrorists attacked the twin towers of the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a corn field in Shanksville, Pa. apparently by a plane also headed for Washington which was diverted at the last minute by a courageous group of rebelling passengers.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the four crashes, most of them employees who just started their workaday at Manhattan’s twin towers. Ceremonies are held throughout America every year on the anniversary of the tragic disaster, and Clarkstown’s is among the largest.
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann lead off the ceremony with a speech in which he called the disaster “One of the most horrible days in the history of the United States of America.”
Hoehmann and Clarkstown Council members Frank Borelli, Stephanie Hauser, John J. Noto, Jr. and Dan Caprara took turns reading off the list of 82 deceased Rocklanders. A somber bell sounded after each name.
Thomas McKiernan of the New York City and West Nyack Fire Departments led the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a rousing rendition of the national anthem led by the Nanuet Senior High School chorus. The same chorus later led the audience in singing “America and the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” A bagpiper gave a soulful rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which was followed by a moment of silence and the playing of TAPS.
During the ceremony members of Boy Scout Troop 97 of New City placed memorial candles at the base of the memorial monument, which was followed by the laying of a memorial wreath at the same location. Following the official ceremony, all attending were invited across Route 304 to the American Legion Hall of Post 1682 for free refreshments provided by the legion post itself and the Florian Association of retired NYFD members.