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Young, old remember 9/11 victims from Wantagh

John Menechino places a wreath during the Patriot

John Menechino places a wreath during the Patriot Day celebration to remember Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, held at the American Legion Post in Wantagh, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. Credit: Steve Pfost

Wantagh community members, some not yet born on Sept. 11, 2001, remembered residents lost in the terrorist attacks at a ceremony Sunday at the local American Legion.

A bell rang after each name was read of the 13 Wantagh residents who died at the World Trade Center that day.

"There are some here who weren't born this day, but those that were and were around, they will remember that day forever, what they were doing, how they heard about it," said Tom Fitzsimmons, 85, a past commander of the Wantagh American Legion Post 1273. "The sad part of it is it takes a tragedy to bring this nation together. Right after 9/11 this country was so solidified . . . why can't we do that all the time? We don't need a tragedy for that to happen."

The ceremony was as much a time of reflection as it was about educating a new generation about that day. Nearly three dozen American Legion members old enough to remember Pearl Harbor gathered alongside Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts who have no firsthand knowledge of 9/11.

"While it's so present and fresh in our minds, we have to realize that in the minds of young people . . . they don't necessarily remember," said Nassau County Legis. Steven Rhoads. "It's important for us to impart to them what happened that day, and to whom it happened."

The ceremony ended with 11 wreaths placed on the American Legion post's lawn, a 21-gun salute and playing of "Taps."

James Seaman, 14, the Boy Scout who played "Taps" on his trumpet, was a baby during the attacks, his mother, Diane Seaman, said. He said it was important for young people to know what happened.

"I feel like I'm respecting those who died during 9/11," James Seaman said.

Paul Sigler, 52, an assistant den leader and postal worker from Wantagh, came with his son, William, 7, a Cub Scout.

"It's important that everyone know that it happened because it could happen again," Sigler said.

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