Borough Hall hosts 6th annual 9/11 memorial for Brooklyn victims
More than 100 people filled the rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall Tuesday morning to remember and celebrate the 266 Brooklyn residents who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Prayers and emotional tributes were divided by two moments of silence, one at 9:59 a.m. representing the time the south World Trade Center tower collapsed, and one at 10:28 a.m. for the north tower collapse. The event honored those who died in the attacks 18 years ago and those who have died since for related illnesses, including the recently passed Det. Luis Alvarez and NYPD Officer Diane Halbran.
“All of us know someone who has been impacted by this tragic day,” Borough President Eric Adams said. “People thought that we would crumble and we would fall. Instead we stood up and we stood tall. That’s the signature of the American experience.”
Adams also took the time to comment on the importance of caring for mental health and approaching trauma like a physical injury.
“We must move to a place where speaking about trauma is not and should not be a scarlet letter … we will never be who we want to be if we do not care for ourselves first.”
In fighting for the extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which was signed into law this July and provides monetary compensation to first responders and other victims of the attacks until 2090, Alvarez knew the importance of taking care of himself and those he loved, his brother Philip Alvarez said.
“We are overwhelmed to say the least for the love, honor and respect that the Alvarez family has received since we lost our brother,” Alvarez said. “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much.”
Det. Alvarez, also a marine veteran, had stage 4 cancer from working the recovery effort at Ground Zero and died on June 29 — but not before testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee earlier in the month.
After Philip Alvarez’s remarks, Susan O’Malley shared stories about the life of her sister, Diane Halbran, who responded to the attacks and succumbed to 9/11-related cancer at age 60.
“A butterfly is one of God’s most unique creations,” O’Malley said. “She is simple, beautiful and despite a short life span, manages to leave a lasting impression on all who cross her path. Diane was our butterfly.”
Borough Hall is displaying a banner above its steps that lists the names of all the Brooklyn residents who died on 9/11 and lowered its flag to half-mast during the ceremony.
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