WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester remembered the lives of 111 county residents and a dozen former residents who were victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at a twilight ceremony on Wednesday night.
Hundreds of Westchester residents joined elected county officials and the family of local victims at The Rising, the county’s Sept. 11 memorial at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.
“On Sept. 11, 2001, all of America was attacked,” Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said. “Our home, our ideals, everything we stand for was attacked.”
The Rising, an 80-foot high steel structure that points to the sky, contains the name of each victim around its base. Each plaque contains a candles for vigils and a spattering of flowers and American flags that have been dropped off by well wishers.
“We’re here at The Rising, which reaches symbolically toward heaven and those 123 residents we lost that day,” Astorino added.
The event kicked off with a presentation of our nation’s colors, led by Bronxville Boy Scout Troop 1 and Eastchester Boy Scout Troop 353. The procession was accompanied by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Ceremonial Unit and the Pipes and Drums of the Police Emerald Society of Westchester.
Westchester resident and American Idol finalist Melinda Ademi then performed the “Star Spangled Banner” to begin the speaking portion of the ceremony. She would later close the event with her rendition of “God Bless America.”
Before several elected officials read the names of the 123 victims along with members of victims’ families, former Gov. George Pataki dedicated a piece of steel beam from one of the World Trade Center buildings to the county. It will reside at The Rising.
“This county gave more than any other county on that fateful day,” he said. “Tonight, we are here in Westchester County, honoring those 123 victims. We are paying tribute to their honor and to their sacrifice.”