2008-09-05 / Community

Tribute Park Ceremonies Set For September 11

Two ceremonies are scheduled to take place at Tribute Park next Thursday, as the Rockaway community and the nation observe the seventh anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"We will continue to do this for as long as we can," said Bernie Warnock, the president of Friends of Tribute Park, the group which has organized the ceremonies. "It is necessary to know that the 9/11 victims will never be forgotten."

The morning ceremony will begin at 8:46 a.m. - the moment the first airplane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center - as our nation's flag is raised high above the peninsula's beautiful bayfront memorial park and is then lowered to half-staff, according to the Friends of Tribute Park.

Uniformed members of the FDNY and NYPD will assist as Tribute Park's ceremonial flag, which has flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., is unfurled at the base of the flagpole where the firefighter memorial rock bears the names of 347 city firefighters who died in the attack.

A list of Rockaway residents who gave their lives that day will be read, and family members and friends of the deceased will have the opportunity to lay a rose on the park's mariner's compass in their memory.

Names of other victims whose families have relocated to the Rockaways since September 11, 2001 will also be read, organizers said.

The ceremonial flag will fly at halfstaff until sunset, when it will be lowered and replaced with the American flag that regularly waves over the park.

Warnock said many people have been invited to attend, but has also noted in the past that this ceremony isn't intended to compete with others that are scheduled elsewhere.

This year's ceremonies will mark the third time that Friends of Tribute Park has hosted September 11 remembrance ceremonies at the park, a vantage point from which many watched the devastation unfold in lower Manhattan nearly seven years ago. The triangular-shaped, undeveloped plot was reclaimed through the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways and the Department of Parks and Recreation and opened to the public in November, 2005.

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