9/11 memorial

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Long Island Families Remember Loved Ones Lost On 9/11

September 11, 2018 - 1:31 pm

POINT LOOKOUT, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Hundreds of Long Islanders spent Tuesday honoring those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

A somber sunrise service was held in the Town of Hempstead early in the day, where thousands gathered to honor the roughly 500 Long Islanders who died in the attacks.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, many who attended the ceremony echoed the same sentiment: “It does not get any easier.”

The ceremony took place before dawn at the September 11th Memorial in Point Lookout; the same location where many residents gathered spontaneously to watch smoke fill the air in lower Manhattan.

9/11 memorial
Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Marie Santorelli lost her mother during the attacks and wiped away tears as she told WCBS 880 that it was also her mother’s birthday.

This year, a memory box was added to the memorial, where Santorelli and other wrote down various memories of their lost loved ones.

9/11 memorial memory box
Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

“The ceremony is an opportunity to reflect, pay tribute and honor the heroes who died,” said Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen at the ceremony. “We gather as a community to heal, remember, and provide comfort to one another.”

Nearby, 16-year-old Steven Giammona honored victims in his own way by helping to revitalize a memorial outside Steward Manor Village Hall.

“My original idea for my Eagles Scout project, was a way to connect with my community, give back to my community,” said Giammona. “In trying to find a way to give back, I decided to tie it into another element in my life, which is 9/11.”

The teenager explained that he lost his uncle, FDNY Lt. Vincent Giammona, during the attacks. He was born just one month later.

Giammona, a junior at Chaminade High School, spent three years working on the project and was able to raise money by selling engraved memorial pavers.

He said the one thing he’s noticed most while working on the project is how close-knit his community is.