2006-09-08 / Front Page

September 11 Ceremonies Set for Tribute Park

By Brian Magoolaghan

The Friends of Tribute Park will mark the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks by leading the public in two remembrance ceremonies - one at the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center and another at sunset.

"At 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the North Tower, we will raise the American flag, which has been flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.," the group said this week in a written release.

Bernie Warnock, the president of Friends of Tribute Park, said the flag would then be lowered to half-staff for the rest of the day. Butterflies will be released "to symbolically represent those members of our Rockaway community that perished on that fateful day," according to the release.

The Friends of Tribute Park will open the gates at 8 a.m. and are encouraging the public to use the park "as a place for reflection, solace and peace."

Taps will play as the flag is lowered from half-staff at sunset, 7:11 p.m.

Warnock said the ceremonies were purposely kept simple so that the focus remains on "the heroes that lost their lives and the innocent people killed on September 11."

Warnock recalled the many Rockaway residents who watched the devastation at the Twin Towers from the patch of land at the north end of Beach 116 Street that eventually became Tribute Park.

"A lot of people stood in that spot and watch the towers fall in a cloud of smoke," he said.

An unpublicized, almost-impromptu flag raising ceremony was held at the park, which was not yet open to the public, last year. Tribute Park was officially opened last November, making this year's anniversary the first time the park is open to the public.

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