Westchester commemorates 9/11 anniversary

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Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, right, and former Gov. George Pataki stand in front of The Rising monument at the Kensico Dam Plaza. During the county’s Sept. 11 remembrance, Pataki dedicated a steel beam that was recovered from the ashes at Ground Zero to the county. Photos courtesy Westchester County

By DANIEL OFFNER

It’s been more than a decade since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 shocked the entire nation.

Now, 12 years later, the tragedy that befell New York City continues to unite people from all walks of life in mourning of the 2,996 people whose lives were cut short that day.

In Westchester County, hundreds gathered outside The Rising at the Kensico Dam Plaza to honor the heroes and victims—123 of which were Westchester residents—who died on 9/11.

After a presentation of the national colors by Bronxville Boy Scout Troop 1 and Eastchester Boy Scout Troop 353, the names of the 123 victims were read in memoriam by family members and elected officials.

At The Rising—a monument that symbolically reaches towards the heavens to memorialize the lives lost on Sept. 11—Republican County Executive Rob Astorino joined family and friends of those killed to officially welcome a steel beam recovered from the rubble at Ground Zero to its memorial site.

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Derek and Courtney Isola, of Briarcliff Manor, participate in the “I Will…” social media project, which was conducted by Westchester County and The Volunteer Center of United Way during the 9/11 day of volunteerism at the Kensico Dam. View all “I Will…” pledges at facebook.com/WestchesterGov.

“I cannot conceive a more fitting metaphor for the enduring American spirit that lives on. Steel, of course, is made primarily of iron—one of the strongest and most stable elements in nature,” Astorino said. “What’s particularly compelling is that carbon—the fundamental building block of all life—is added to steel to make it stronger. The more carbon that’s melded into steel, the stronger it becomes.”

The steel beam, which once helped support the Twin Towers, was presented to the county by former New York State Gov. George Pataki, a Republican in office at the time of the attacks, who said it is a lasting reminder of the country’s sacrifice, courage and strength. Pataki added that Westchester gave more than any other county that day, and that the steel beam was provided as tribute to the 123 men and women from Westchester killed in the 9/11 attacks.

To commemorate the steel beam, a plaque was also added to the monument, which states: “With pride and humility, the people of Westchester County welcome the beam to its permanent home at The Rising.”

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Members of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Ceremonial Unit presented our nation’s colors during the opening of the 9/11 memorial ceremony.

In addition to the installation of the steel beam, Astorino acknowledged the hundreds of first responders who rushed towards the lower Manhattan catastrophe—some of whom never returned—and the inspiration they carried for a generation of young people looking to become police officers, firefighters or service men and women with the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We should, each of us, heed the sacred charge bestowed by the events and the victims of 9/11,” Astorino added. “And never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.”

Contact: dan@hometwn.com

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About Daniel Offner

Daniel Offner joined Hometown Media Group as a staff reporter in 2012 after working as a freelancer and has since covered the Town/Village of Harrison and the villages of Bronxville and Larchmont. Offner holds a B.A. in journalism from SUNY Stony Brook and has previous experience as an intern for WSHU, an NPR affiliate in Fairfield, Conn. He is also an avid photographer, occasional blogger, and an amateur web designer who aspires to one day write for a national publication. Reach Dan at 914-653-1000 x26 or dan@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @harrisonreport.