Village residents, along with local elected officials, came together last week in Memorial Park to remember those who were killed in the 9/11 terror attacks.
“Standing with us tonight are our Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other young children and young adults,” said Mayor Scott Strauss, who spoke at the memorial service. “They weren’t yet born when the towers fell, when the Pentagon burned and when the passengers of United Flight 93 stormed the cockpit, sacrificing their lives to save countless others. Because time will continue to pass and newer chapters in our history will begin to fade our memories of September 11, 2001, it makes it even more important for us to continue to remember and tell the stories of that day.”
Strauss told the attendees about what happened in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, when they took in 7,000 strangers that day.
“Almost immediately after the attacks, the FAA began diverting all planes coming from all over the world to the closest airports possible because of the high probability of additional hijackings; they were grounded,” said Strauss. “One of those airports was in Gander, Newfoundland. The airport normally sees just seven planes a day, but because of the terror attacks, they had 38 jumbo jets land in just 90 minutes. In just 90 minutes, the population of Gander nearly doubled as 7,000 passengers and crews found themselves there with nowhere to go.”
The town of Gander, in a matter of hours, opened up their schools, their legion halls, their churches and their homes to the stranded passengers. Striking bus drivers went back to work to provide much needed transportation while the residents of Gander banded together and donated and cooked food and opened up their homes to the passengers and crew for up to five days before the airways were fully reopened.
“This is just many of the great stories that came from the devastating horrors that came from September 11th,” said Strauss. “Stories of how people came together, not only here in New York and in the United States, but across the world, helping each other the best they could.”
This heartwarming story was actually immortalized in the play Come From Away, which is now playing on Broadway.
Father Malcolm Burns from Corpus Christi Church also spoke during the memorial service.
“In a few minutes, the Tribute of Light will light up those two blue shafts of light headed up to Heaven that marked the footprints of where the towers once stood,” said Burns. “Now that I look at one, I look at one as the souls that died that day and I look at the second light as the souls that have died since then.”
The memorial service concluded as Boy Scout Troop 45 presented the memorial wreath honoring the memory of those who were lost while the Mineola Fire Department honorary chief Steve Stolarik played “Taps” on top of the Mineola Library balcony.