By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bay Ridge, a neighborhood that lost 36 of its residents in the Sept. 11 attack, is getting ready for an annual ceremony in which the community pays tribute to the victims and their families on the anniversary of that dark day 13 years ago.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) sponsors a commemoration every year at the American Veterans Memorial Pier, also known as the 69th Street pier, and will do so again this year on Thursday, Sept. 11, starting at 8 p.m.
The remembrance, which has become a tradition in Bay Ridge, will include the lighting of candles, a 21-gun salute and the release of two bunches of yellow balloons, one with nine balloons and another with 11, into the night sky.
In past years, the event has also included prayers and the singing of patriotic songs like “God Bless the USA.”
Family members of Sept. 11 victims have been invited to take part in the ceremony.
Back in August of 2002, nearly a year after the attack on the World Trade Center, The New York Times reported that the 11209 ZIP CODE area, which covers much of Bay Ridge, had a high casualty toll in the Sept. 11, 2001 horror. Citing figures released by the New York City Medical Examiner, The Times reported that 36 people whose addresses were listed in 11209 were killed in the attack.
The victims included firefighters, cops, and several young people just starting their careers in financial services firms that had offices in the Twin Towers.
Golden said the tragedy has had a long-term effect on Bay Ridge residents.
“The memories of the horror and heroism of September 11, 2001, will never fade from our memories, and they shouldn't,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.
More than a dozen local streets have been named in memory of Sept. 11 victims in the yeas since the attack.
“We should and we will never forget those lost, and the attack on America, and that is why we will again host our annual memorial on the American Veterans Memorial Pier. I encourage families and friends to be with us to remember, so that we can pay tribute to the lives lost, and the acts of heroism, that we saw that day and in the months that followed," Golden said.
There is a reason the American Veterans Memorial Pier is chosen each year as the site of the Sept. 11 ceremony, according to civic leaders, who pointed out that on Sept. 11, 2001, the pier was crowded with residents looking to get a clear view of the devastation taking place across New York Harbor. The pier offers an unencumbered view of the skyline of lower Manhattan.
The pier also holds the “Beacon,” a 25-foot-high bronze sculpture created by artist Robert Ressler that pays tribute to Sept. 11 victims from Brooklyn.