September 11 Family Group remembers the fallen in Coney Island

September 13, 2019 Jaime DeJesus
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CONEY ISLAND — It was a day of remembrance as the September 11 Family Group hosted its annual commemoration at the September 11 Memorial Square in Asser Levy Park, on the waterfront in Coney Island.

Hundreds of people gathered during the afternoon of Thurs., September 11, many of them family members of the fallen, as well as elected officials.

“I still think it’s very important for families to share our memories. As I said in my short speech, people need to organize their world around them in a secure way because it’s not the same world that we lived in before 9/11,” said event organizer Roman Gertsberg, who lost his daughter in the attacks. “It’s part of what we do every year.”

The attendance was larger than expected, according to Gertsberg.

“We had planned for about 300 people, but many more people showed up yesterday,” he told the Home Reporter. “I would say about 400 people came,” including the family members of many who died on that day. “Some people have moved to different parts of the country so they couldn’t come, but over 90 percent came to this, and they show up every year. They are seated in the first two rows.”

The ceremony has taken place since 2002, and in 2003, the effort to create a permanent memorial got underway, said Gertsberg.

Among those who attended the commemoration were local elected officials, including Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, and Assemblymembers Mathylde Frontus and Bill Colton.

“Eighteen years ago, our city and our nation changed forever, and so did life for many of our fellow New Yorkers, including here in Southern Brooklyn,” Treyger said on social media. “The 9/11 Families group — founded by Roman Gertsberg and the late Valery Savinkin, who both tragically lost children on September 11th, 2001 — gathers loved ones, family and friends to commemorate the memory of all those we lost and to remember the sacrifices of those who gave of themselves to offer much-needed assistance. I was honored to be there today as I have been for many years now, because we must #NeverForget what we’ve lost, as well as what we continue to hold dear.”

“On this anniversary of 9/11, survivors in Southern Brooklyn continue to keep the memories of their loved ones alive,” added Frontus, who thanked the organizers “for keeping this annual tradition going in Coney Island, even though the pain never goes away.”

“We must never forget the almost 3000 who were lost that day,” Colton said, “nor the countless first responders and others who have suffered grave illnesses from their efforts to recover their remains. Nor must we ever forget our police officers and firefighters who rushed in to help, many of whom also died doing so. So many helped strangers on that day and so many more flocked to places of worship to pray for the victims and their families. That represents the greatness of American values. Keeping these memories strong will keep our great nation strong as we continue to speak out against all forms of hate and terrorism, no matter against whom such is directed.”

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