The Final Piece In The Tribute Park Mosaic
After what seems like a decade of anticipation, Rockaway's Tribute Park is finally complete. Last Sunday, after a day-long delay because of heavy rain, local artist Patrick Clark unveiled his magnum Opus, "The Heavens Over Rockaway," the stained glass cupola that honors all of the Rockaway residents who died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. While the rest of the memorial park was opened last November, the peninsula waited with baited breath for Clark to finish and install his work. We can now say that it was worth waiting for. When the glass dome was lit for the first time Sunday night at 8 p.m. the 75 people present were stunned by the beauty of the moment and by the work that lit the sky. The lighting ceremony followed several hours of the work's formal unveiling. It was a fitting ceremony with lots of appropriate music and statements by family members. Each of the family members who were present came forward for Clark to point out "their" star in the firmament of stars, each with the name of one of those who was lost nearly five years ago. The names of all the victims of the attack were read and the entire site was declared "sacred" by a Umatilla Native American, who performed a "smudge blessing" not only for the site, but for each of the family members as well. Clark says that he his inspiration for the work, more than four years coming, was from Psalm 147. "...He decides the number of the stars and gives each of them a name." With the addition of Clark's fitting work, the park is complete and we urge all Rockaway residents to visit the site at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive to see for themselves. It is indeed an inspirational park where one can sit and contemplate their lives since that day that changed the world.