Hempstead Town officials plan to erect a permanent memorial at Point Lookout Town Park next year to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino and council members gathered at the Point Lookout beach Friday ahead of Sunday’s 9/11 ceremony with a temporary stand-up mural of the city skyline and the twin towers.
The skyline cutout memorial on the beach will be replaced next year with an archway, memorial wall with the names of 9/11 victims and a garden of beach grass and flowers surrounding a World Trade Center steel beam.
The centerpiece of the plaza at the entrance to the beach will include a meditation table with a quote from Walt Whitman’s “On the Beach at Night.”
“They are immortal. All those stars, both silvery and golden shall shine out again,” the poem reads.
“It’s compelling to remember that today’s high school freshmen were not born when the terrorists attacked,” Santino said. “This memorial will honor the heroes and victims of 9/11 for all generations for years to come, and hopefully they will come here to pause and reflect on those who gave their all for the freedom and love of their country and their families.”
Friday’s unveiling of the memorial was attended by Kerri Kiefer-Viverito, whose brother Michael Kiefer of Franklin Square was killed on 9/11 as a New York City firefighter who ran into the towers.
Kiefer was finishing a 24-hour shift from his engine company in Brooklyn when he rushed into the south tower. He was on one of the top floors seeking to evacuate victims when the tower collapsed. Kiefer’s body was never recovered.
“He died doing what he loved,” Kiefer-Viverito said. “It’s important for Hempstead to honor our local heroes with a permanent memorial.”
Michael Kiefer died two days after running a triathlon in Point Lookout. Kiefer-Viverito will race in her brother’s place Saturday in the Town of Hempstead Triathlon to commemorate the 15th anniversary of his death.
“It’s something I wanted to do to further keep his memory alive, and I thought it would be uplifting to literally follow in his footsteps,” Kiefer-Viverito said.
Hempstead’s 9/11 ceremony will be held at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the Point Lookout Town Park and will include placing American flags and carnations in a reflecting pool at the memorial. Guests will be invited to write victims’ names on the 35-foot skyline mural.