As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches in the coming weeks, Catholic Cemeteries of Long Island is giving families of victims an opportunity to add the names of loved ones to its granite memorial wall.
The monument, in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, was built in 2003 and includes the names of 414 Long Islanders who died in the attacks at the World Trade Center, along with first responders who lost their lives working to rescue and recover victims at Ground Zero.
Richard Bie, chief executive of Catholic Cemeteries of Long Island, which owns and operates four cemeteries across Nassau and Suffolk counties, said the memorial is a place to remember the victims on that tragic day.
"It's a quiet place to reflect on those lost," he said. "It's a nice way to remember those who have been lost and that we never forget."
Nearly 500 Long Islanders were among the almost 3,000 people killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on a plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. More than 2,000 first responders, office workers and residents of lower Manhattan — including a large number from Long Island — have since died from a 9/11-related illness, advocates said.
Family members of Long Island victims can go online and submit their loved ones' name for the memorial at no cost, and individuals do not have to be Catholic for inclusion. The deceased’s full name and optionally, their profession, will be etched into the memorial, officials said.
Individuals who lost their lives years later due to health conditions and exposure to the toxic air at Ground Zero are also eligible. The deadline for submissions is July 31.
The black marble memorial is the centerpiece of a specially designated area of the cemetery set aside for victims of the attacks, many of who are interred at the cemetery. A religious statue of Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion resides in front of the memorial.
Catholic Cemeteries of Long Island will host an outdoor Mass at the cemetery on Sept. 11. The Mass will be led by Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop John Barres.