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Honoring the Heroes of 9/11

East Islip honors heroes of 9/11 at commemoration ceremony thumbnail197592
East Islip honors heroes of 9/11 at commemoration ceremony thumbnail197593

On Sept. 10, the East Islip School District held a 20-year commemoration to remember and honor the heroes and victims of 9/11. The back-to-back ceremonies – one attended by East Islip High School students, the second for East Islip Middle School classes – were both held at Sal Ciampi Field at Boomer Esiason Stadium.

Guests included Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, members of the East Islip Board of Education, and the Islip Terrace and East Islip Fire Departments. Also in attendance were members of the Cross and Otten families. Three FDNY firefighters from East Islip were lost in the Sept. 11 attacks: Dennis Cross, Thomas Kennedy and Michael Otten. 

“Twenty years ago on a beautiful, sunny day, as Americans were putting their children on school buses and going about their daily responsibilities, our nation was attacked,” said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Personnel Paul Manzo. “This attack was intended to break our spirits. However, it actually strengthened the resolve of the American people. An amazing reaction that day was the unity, compassion and strength that flowed through our country. Strangers cried together, held hands, helped one another, stood in line to donate blood and rallied together in a bond, which was extended through tears. A sense of brotherhood and unity swept across our nation in a way of many of us have never seen before. America vowed to never forget, and we never will.”

“Patriot Day is a national observance that honors the memory of those who were killed in the 9/11 attacks,” said Superintendent John Dolan. “This day seeks to turn the tragic anniversary into a day of unity and service. Charitable acts are done in tribute to those who were killed and injured as well as our first responders and military who have served and are serving us all around the globe today. To the brave Americans who gave their lives at the Pentagon, the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and in New York City at the World Trade Center, and to their families – you live on in our minds and in our hearts. We grew stronger through your sacrifice and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Addressing the assembled students, Dolan said, “We honor those we have lost by never forgetting. Honor their memory by always helping others. EI Pride is based on a belief that through hard work, community-minded spirit and a positive attitude, we will all be better at sunset than we were at sunrise. EI Pride honors the memory of 9/11, never forgetting, never ending our quest for justice. EI Pride channels the pain of our loss into the energy to build a better future. EI Pride honors the memory of 9/11 by reminding all of us that good will conquer evil when good people never forget. So today, let’s all promise to honor the memory of all our loved ones and brave soldiers and first responders by rededicating ourselves to reaching out to help others, not just on Sept. 11, but every day.”

To close the ceremony, East Islip Executive Director of Special Education/Pupil Personnel Services K-12 and CPSE Aileen O’Rourke sang Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American” and “God Bless America,” accompanied by her husband Eamonn O’Rourke on guitar.

 

 

Sunday, November 28, 2021