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Hempstead Town to unveil its permanent Sept. 11 memorial

Hempstead Town's permanent Sept. 11 memorial in Point

Hempstead Town's permanent Sept. 11 memorial in Point Lookout, seen Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, will be officially unveiled at a sunrise service on the 16th anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead Town’s permanent Sept. 11 memorial in Point Lookout is to be completed by next week, Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said.

The new waterfront memorial is to be officially unveiled at a sunrise service on Sept. 11, Santino said, marking the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks.

Officials broke ground on the $1.3 million memorial at Town Park Point Lookout in May. It will include a meditation plaza with a memorial table, a granite wall, a 30-foot steel beam from the World Trade Center’s north tower, and a directional plaque to show where in the distance the Twin Towers once stood in lower Manhattan.

The granite wall will bear the names of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The names of those who died of 9/11-related illnesses also will be inscribed on the wall, which will be updated annually to include the names of those who die of such illnesses.

Santino said the wall will honor “all those who have sacrificed their lives.”

With the identification of one person’s remains in early August, the total number of victims identified from the World Trade Center is 1,641, according to data released by the medical examiner. About 500 Long Islanders were killed in the attacks, including about 200 people from the Town of Hempstead, town spokesman Mike Deery said.

Other communities over the years have created memorials to those killed in the attacks, but Hempstead did not have anything permanent even though it has held ceremonies at Town Park Point Lookout every year.

Santino said he prioritized the building of the town’s memorial when he was elected supervisor in 2015. He wanted it to be at the town park because many residents gathered there in 2001, looking “to the west in shock and in horror” at the devastation in lower Manhattan.

“Hundreds of people gravitated to the beach,” he said. “No one told them to go there.”

Prominent Long Islanders died in the attacks or in the years afterward from related illnesses, including former FDNY firefighter Raymond Pfeifer, a resident of Levittown and Hicksville who died in May of cancer related to his time at Ground Zero. Pfeifer lobbied Congress to pass an extension of the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which funds health care for 9/11 survivors and first responders. On Saturday, officials renamed a Hicksville street as Raymond J. Pfeifer Way.

Michael Kiefer, 25, of Franklin Square, was a probationary FDNY firefighter who was scheduled to come off his shift on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead, he and his fellow firefighters from Ladder Co. 132 in Crown Heights were some of the first responding companies. His body was never found, his sister Kerri Kiefer-Viverito said.

Her brother, a surfer and Long Beach lifeguard, had dreamed of being a firefighter since childhood, said Kiefer-Viverito, 35, of Franklin Square. She named her now-6-year-old son after his uncle and she competes in the town’s annual triathlon — which passes through the town park — in her brother’s honor. Michael Kiefer completed the triathlon on Sept. 9 before going to work the next day on what was to be his last shift.

“It really means the world to me to have some place so close to home,” she said of the town’s permanent memorial. “My mission in life is to live it the way he would have.”

Town of Hempstead Sept. 11 Sunrise Memorial Ceremony

7:30 a.m.

Town Park Point Lookout

Lido Boulevard, Point Lookout

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