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Commack seeks 9/11 victims’ names for school memorial

Commack High School is an International Baccalaureate School

Commack High School is an International Baccalaureate School serving grades 9-12. The school has over 60 clubs and about 20 sports teams. (July, 18, 2011) Photo Credit: Alexi Knock

The Commack School District is seeking the names of community members who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for a memorial to be installed this year at the high school.

Debbie Virga, director of community relations for the district, said the school received a piece of steel from the Twin Towers and plans to unveil a memorial on Sept. 11, 2012.

The memorial's design includes a 5-foot-tall granite wall on which the steel beam will be erected. The names of community members lost to the attacks will be etched into the granite.

“We don’t want to exclude anyone or forget anyone,” Virga said.

So far, she said she has four names: Dennis Scauso, a member of the FDNY and the class of ‘73; James Munhall, who worked in the building and graduated with the class of ‘74; Ezra Aviles, who was a Commack resident and worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and Benilda Domingo, an employee at Windows on the World whose children now live with their aunt in Commack.

The steel was donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Virga said. It is 31 inches long, 15 inches high and 8 inches wide. She said it was part of a stairwell, but she didn’t know from which tower.

The memorial will also include inscribed paving stones, which Virga is selling for $50 each. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the FealGood Foundation and the Twin Towers Orphan Fund.

Virga said the Commack School District has held a 9/11 memorial ceremony every year since 2001 -- and now it will have a more appropriate place to reflect.

She said she believes the four names she has are the only people from the community who died that day. She said she wondered, however, if there could have been graduates that moved out of state, worked at the Pentagon or were on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

“Anyone that knows of anyone that we didn’t get their name should contact us,” she said. “We’ll include them, and there will be a place to honor and remember them indefinitely in Commack.”

Virga can be reached at dvirga@commack.k12.ny.us or 631-858-3623.

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