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9/11 memorial dedicated in Floral Park

Ex-Chief Frank Cantreva places a flower down onto

Ex-Chief Frank Cantreva places a flower down onto the memorial. The community of Floral Park dedicated its 9/11 memorial to the eleven residents who died ten years ago at the World Trade Center. (Oct. 1, 2011) Credit: Steve Pfost

Bagpipes played as the color guard marched through the center of the village. In the distance, a church bell tolled.

Many on the lawn of Floral Park's village hall yesterday morning stood in awe of the 19-foot-high twisted steel beam dedicated in memory of the 11 residents who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"It is symbolic of the confusion, torment, and yes, the agony," Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy told the 75 people who attended the hourlong ceremony. "It is more than a memorial. It is a work of art."

The beam rises from a 12-sided platform of black granite and stone. The names of the victims are inscribed on all but one side that serves as a step for people to walk up and touch the rusted hunk of metal, angled and distressed from the collapse of the Twin Towers.

The ceremony started with a fire department ladder truck slowly driving away, pulling up a large American flag that had veiled the front of the memorial.

As a violin played in the background, former Mayor Ann V. Corbett, who led the village during the terrorist attacks 10 years ago, slowly read out the victims' names. A white rose was placed atop each name on the monument.

Donna Regan, 52, widow of Robert M. Regan, who was a lieutenant in New York City Fire Department's Ladder 118, said she was thrilled by the memorial.

"He would've been very proud today. He loved this town and it's an honor to have him remembered here like this," she said.

Ken Fairben, 63, who lost his 23-year-old paramedic son, Keith, said "it's another bittersweet reminder that I hope can be a learning tool for future generations."

Floral Park's 5,000-pound steel beam was among the 76 pieces of World Trade Center debris distributed to Long Island communities.

Two years ago, Floral Park firefighters Eric O'Connor and Mike Saville submitted a request to get the steel beam. In April, a fire department convoy, the Nassau County Fire Riders motorcycle club and a flatbed truck went to Hangar 17 at Kennedy Airport and returned with the beam.

"Touching the steel for the first time was very moving," said Frank Gunther, the local architect who designed the memorial. "It just brought the tragedy back to Floral Park all over again."

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