Under sparkling blue skies reminiscent of the morning of Sept. 11 nearly 10 years ago, family members of Islip Town residents lost that day gathered at Town Hall Friday evening to honor the memories of their loved ones.
In a somber ceremony held before a memorial that includes the names of all Town residents who died a decade ago, Islip officials recalled the events of 9/11 and the impact the attacks on the World Trade Center had on families across the township.
“To say this was a tragedy of epic proportions would minimize it,” Town Supervisor Phil Nolan said. “We remember the heroism of the firefighters and police officers that went to the site and saved many lives that day.”
Rick Gimbl, the Town’s director of emergency management and a retired New York City firefighter, recalled the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in the weeks following 9/11.
“Horrific views became commonplace. Anger at those who would commit such cowardly actions was on everyone’s lips,” he said. “Unbelievable sadness and respect washed over us as the bodies and parts were recovered.”
Gimbl recalled a time when firefighters working at “the pile” would try to get some rest, only to be awakened by a fellow firefighter having a nightmare.
“It’s OK brother, let it out,” he recalled saying.
During the memorial service Nolan and members of the Town Council read the names of the 90 Islip residents who lost their lives on 9/11. A photo of each person was displayed as the names were read, a duty that proved to be emotional for Councilman John Edwards and Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, who fought back tears.
In addition, a steel beam from the World Trade Center was unveiled that will serve as an addition to the Town’s 9/11 memorial.