The blazing sun and high humidity did not deter the crowd
attending Town of Clarkstown’s annual Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony. Family
members and friends of victims of the terror attacks joined by residents,
government officials, numerous fire departments, veterans and the Nam Knights
in paying tribute to the 25 residents of Clarkstown who died 12 years ago.
Police Chaplain David Lothrop spoke about the sadness and loss of families who have a huge void in their lives can never be filled. Dan Novotny, whose brother Brian died at the World Trade Center, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
After the service, he spoke about the ceremony in lower Manhattan, which his family attends yearly. Novotny said the gathering was very large as it has been because it is a day of respect. He expects to go every year so he can pay tribute to his brother and to the friends he lost in the attacks. Different family members volunteer for the honor of reading names and on Wednesday, his 15-year-old nephew had the honor.
“It’s all about showing respect for those people who sacrificed their lives to save other people,” said Novotny.
During the Clarkstown service, Supervisor Alex Gromack said it was important to remember Sept. 11th because it changed the world and people’s lives. He said it was necessary to honor those whose lives were lost.
“To those who say we need to forget, I say to forget is weakness,” said Gromack. “We will remember September 11, 2001 because we have the strength and duty to remember.”
Gromack said the annual service is important for those whose lives were impacted.
“As hard as it is we will continue to meet year after year to embrace the strength to remember,” he said.
The Clarkstown Police Honor Guard presented the colors which remained in front of the town’s memorial until after all the names of all 81 people with ties to Rockland County and one victim of the 1993 bombing were read. Gromack, Town Council members Shirley Lasker, Frank Borelli, George Hoehmann and Stephanie Hausner and Police Chief Michael Sullivan read the names and after each name a bell was rung.
Helen Smith of Clarkstown South High School sang The National Anthem and God Bless America.