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.
“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.”
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.”