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Bishop Brennan celebrates 9/11 Mass in Breezy Point as Queens leaders host remembrances across the borough

Sep. 12, 2023 By Bill Parry

Bishop Robert Brennan celebrated a 9/11 Memorial Mass in Breezy Point on Sept. 11 with the Blessed Trinity Parish community dedicated to those killed during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the first responders and those who have died from related diseases since.

The Mass was held at the 9/11 Memorial, located at Rockaway Point Boulevard and Beach 218th Street, which consists of 29 glass etchings of each of the community members lost on that day 22 years ago, and a cross-shaped piece of steel from the World Trade Center.

Parishioners from the Blessed Trinity Parish community in Breezy Point. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Brooklyn

Following the Mass, the names of the Breezy Point residents who died on 9/11 were read aloud as parishioners placed roses at the memorial in remembrance of each victim, and a bell was rung as each name was announced, The Breezy Point Catholic Pipes and Drums preformed God Bless America to conclude the Mass and ceremony.

The 9/11 Memorial honors the 29 residents of Breezy Point who were killed during the Sept. 11 attacks at the World Trade Center 22 years ago. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Brooklyn

“We prayed for the innocent people killed by hatred, and our first responders who knew they had to respond, a choice that would impact themselves and their families,” Bishop Brennan said. “In their honor, let us pledge to build up one another with love, never forgetting the sacrifices our first responders make every day, and those sick with Ground Zero illness. Trusting in God, let us pray for the souls of the faithfully departed, whose shoulders we stand on, and the heroes living amongst us today.”

Some of those heroes were honored across Jamaica Bay on Sept. 10 as the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic group continued its promise to “Never Forget” by raising Old Glory on a new flagpole at the September 11th Memorial site at 84th Street and 157th Avenue. U.S. Army veteran Eddie Earl, 9/11 first responder FDNY retired Captain Jay Frango and 9/11 first responder Retired FDNY Firefighter John Morabito and Chief of the West Hamilton Beach Fire Department Nicholas Spinelli, helped 9/11 first responder Retired FDNY Firefighter Dominick Devito, who suffers from Ground Zero-related illness, hoist the flag to the top of the new pole for the very first time as the song “Rise Up” played.

“Having Dominick be able to be here with us, with all he’s been through, and actually have him be helped to stand by other service members so that he could raise the flag for the community was one of the most special scenes I have ever witnessed,” Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association Co-President Phyllis Inserillo said. “This is one way that as a community, we can continue our promise to Never Forget and make sure generations to come know about the significance of that day. They need to know Dominick’s story and Jay’s story and John’s story of heroism and hope on a day the unthinkable happened.”

Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Co-President Barbara McNamara recalled Devito over the summer raising the funds for the new flagpole despite his health issues.

“Dominick sat for five nights at the Feat we held in Howard Beach and sold bows and 50/50 raffle tickets to make sure that we would have the money to pay for the flagpole and its installation,” she said. “He was a dedicated member of the FDNY and our city on Sept. 11 and he continues his dedication to this day.”

The civic group plans to continue the beautification of the area as a memorial site for those who were lost on 9/11, and in honor of all those whose lives were changed that day.

“So many residents of Howard Beach continue to bear the scars of 9/11,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola said. “That tragic day, and the sicknesses wrought upon New Yorkers in its aftermath, continues to be felt even now, twenty-two years later. That’s why I am so proud to have been a part of this ceremony, so that I can stand beside those many first responders who survived the attacks and who spent countless hours searching the wreckage at Ground Zero in the days that followed and express my deepest thanks for all of their efforts and sacrifices. May we never forget the sacrifices and the heroism that we saw that day. And may we continue to honor those who are still suffering because of it.”

On Sept. 11, Ariola also attended remembrance ceremonies at Tribute Park near Jamaica Bay at Beach 116th Street, a ceremony at Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach and another remembrance ceremony at Woodhaven Boulevard. State Senator Joseph Addabbo said the ceremonies are still essential 22 years after the terrorist attacks.

“There is now an entire generation of New Yorkers who weren’t alive when the attacks happened, and it is up to us to keep our promise to never forget. We can live up to that promise by remembering those who perished in the tragedy and the brave first responders who rushed directly into danger and gave their lives to help save others,” Addabbo said. “We should tell the stories of the largest rescue mission our country has ever witnessed. We must also provide the surviving first responders with the healthcare they deserve for the conditions they developed from risking their lives on that fateful day.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris carried a similar message to Maspeth, where he delivered remarks at the community’s permanent September 11 Memorial, which recognizes 19 firefighters from FDNY Squad 288 who were killed in the line of duty at the World Trade Center, the most from any firehouse in the city.

Firefighters from FDNY Squad 288 remember the fallen at the Maspeth 9/11 Memorial. Courtesy of Gianris’ office

“The impacts of September 11 are still felt throughout the western Queen community. It’s humbling to stand in Maspeth and honor our neighbors that did not come home,” Gianaris said. “I thank the Maspeth community for keeping the memory of these heroes alive more than two decades later.”

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry had their legislation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul to rename the 94th Street bridge over the Grand Central Parkway in East Elmhurst in honor of Port Authority Police Officer Pavlos P. Pallas who passed away 12 years ago at the age of 34. The PAPD officer developed cancer after carrying out search and recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

The 94th Street Bridge across the Grand Central Parkway to LaGuardia Airport will be named in honor of PAPD Officer Pavlos Pallas who lived in East Elmhurst before he died of 9/11-related cancer in 2011 at age 34. Courtesy of Port Authority PBA

“I thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation on 9 /11 as a tribute to those who lost their lives as a result of the attack on our nation,” Stavisky said. “Officer Pallas deserves to be honored for his selfless service and sacrifice. It will be known as ‘the Port Authority Police Officer Pavlos D. Pallas Memorial Bridge.’ Naming the bridge in his memory will serve as a constant reminder of Officer Pallas and all the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to save others in the face of an indescribable act of terror. We are all indebted to these heroes.”

Aubry said Pallas’ legacy will live on now that this recognition is a reality. The Port Authority concurred.

“Officer Pallas represents the very best of our agency and our nation, and this bridge renaming is a fitting tribute to honor his extraordinary bravery,” said Port Authority Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie. “The Port Authority is grateful for the commitment of Governor Hochul, Senator Stavisky, and Assemblyman Aubry in ensuring that Officer Pallas’ heroism will never be forgotten.”

The Port Authority PBA, Officer Pallas’ former union, was pleased to see that he would be eternally remembered in his neighborhood of East Elmhurst for his service.

“We would like to briefly pause on this solemn day, to remember Paul, his dedication to our agency, our union, and the countless civilians who were impacted by his sacrifice,” Port Authority Police Benevolent Association President Frank Conti said. “Paul will forever live on, in our hearts and minds. This legislation will ensure that millions of commuters that utilize and will utilize LaGuardia Airport will know the importance of Paul’s sacrifices.”

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