By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bay Ridge residents, who lost 32 of their neighbors in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, gather on the 69th Street pier on every anniversary of that horrendous day to honor those who died when hijacked jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center towers.
They will do so again this year.
Led by state Sen. Marty Golden, hundreds of Bay Ridgeites are expected to come to the pier at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to pray, sing, light candles, and hear a 21-gun salute. The families of several Sept. 11 victims are among those who are expected to make the pilgrimage to the pier.
“As we begin to think of how our world was changed almost 11 years ago on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, we must continue to as a community to remember those we lost that day," Golden said. "We must remember that our community lost many that morning, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, neighbors and friends, and if we are to make sure that their lives will never be forgotten, we must gather and make sure to remember."
The 69th Street pier is the place that frightened local residents flocked on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, watching in shock as the towers collapsed. The pier, located on New York Harbor, provides a clear view of the lower Manhattan skyline. Residents stood on the pier that day and watched in shock as the towers collapsed.
The pier is also the spot where the official memorial to Brooklyn’s victims stands. The memorial consists of “The Beacon,” a sculpture created by artist Robert Ressler. “The Beacon” is in the shape of a 19th century fireman’s bugle. Firefighters in the 1800s used a bugle to signal distress during emergencies.
In the months after the attack, Golden, Councilman James Oddo, and former Rep. Vito Fossella formed Brooklyn Remembers, an organization charged with the task of raising funds to pay for the sculpture. Bill Guarinello, chairman of Community Board 11 in Bensonhurst, served as the chairman of Brooklyn Remembers. “The Beacon” was officially dedicated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2005.
“I’m very proud that the entire Brooklyn community came together and got this done,” Guarinello said. “We were the first ones in the city to respond to the need to organize a permanent memorial for victims from a borough.”
Guarinello said the 69th Street pier was selected for the memorial because of its role in Sept. 11 history. “People went there that day and saw the buildings come down. Now they can go there, see our memorial, and see the new buildings going up,” he said.
Brooklyn Remembers disbanded following the dedication of the sculpture. “We handed it over to the Parks Department to take care of,” Guarinello said.
The 11209 ZIP CODE area, which covers Bay Ridge, lost 32 citizens in the terrorist attack, according to city officials. Many of the victims were young people in their 20s who were employed the financial firms that had offices in the Twin Towers.
Three of the victims, Richard Caggiano, Robert Tipaldi, and Jude Safi, had graduated together in 1994 from Xaverian High School, and were working as assistant bond traders at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Prior to the 69th Street pier event, Golden will host a ceremony in the Marine Park section of his senate district.
Golden will hold a memorial in Marine Park, at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, at 6 p.m. Like the pier ceremony, the Marine Park remembrance will feature a program of inspirational speeches and patriotic song selection, as well as a candle lighting vigil, Golden said.