For the past 14 years since the terror attacks occurred, Sept. 11 commemorations have been held around New York City. This year, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams decided that it was time for Borough Hall to honor the victims and their families, since so many were Brooklynites. He hosted Borough Hall’s first-ever 9/11 Remembrance Service on Wednesday to bring together victims’ families with elected officials and clergy leaders.
The time was scheduled so that participants may also take part in other Sept. 11 commemorations taking place this Friday around the city.
Sept. 11, 2001 saw the loss of an entire squad of firefighters from Brooklyn Heights’ Engine 205 and Hook & Ladder 118. They ran their trucks across the Brooklyn Bridge—a scene immortalized in photography—to assist in the rescue efforts. They were trapped when the towers fell.
Clergy participating in Wednesday’s service included Dr. Rabbi Alvin Kass, Chief Chaplain for the NYPD, FDNY Chaplain Monsignor John Delendick and Dr. Ahmad Jaber, representing the Muslim community. After the trio gave the opening invocations, The Rev. Jane Huber of Plymouth Church and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, FDNY Chaplain, gave the closing prayers.
Several other Downtown Brooklyn clergy and chaplains from the Fire Department and Police Department were also present for the service, which took place in the Rotunda of Borough Hall.
The event, commemorating the 14th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, incorporated interfaith prayer, readings and tributes by surviving family members and selections from the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. The gathering observed a moment of silence at 9:59 AM, coinciding with the time of Two World Trade Center’s collapse. Immediately afterwards, the American flag atop Borough Hall was lowered, and BP Adams joined victims’ families for the placement of a remembrance wreath outside the building.
Adams, who served in the NYPD during 9/11, spoke of about the terror attack’s enduring impact on Brooklyn and New York City. NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill, FDNY Brooklyn Borough Command Chief Wayne Cartwright and USAG Fort Hamilton Commander Colonel Joseph Davidson also spoke. Colonel Davidson praised the courage and heroism of citizens and soldiers who stood ready to defend the United States in the aftermath of 9/11.
Among the most poignant moments was a poetry reading that Trudi Aiken gave in memory of her nephew, Terrance Andre Aiken, who died in the World Trade Center Towers. He had been at his new job as a computer consultant for only one week when the attacks took place. Aiken read a poem she wrote, titled “Reflections.”
Another service with the interfaith Brooklyn Heights Clergy Association is scheduled to take place Thursday evening, Sept. 10 at the Promenade’s Montague St. entrance.