The 9/11 Memorial and Candlelight Vigil, held at the Bill Brown Park at Bedford Avenue and Avenue X, was an honorable tribute to all those who lost their lives on that tragic day. The event was well-organized and very moving. There were personal accounts of some who had experienced it firsthand, as well as testimonials from those who lost loved ones.
Hundreds of local area residents attended and the event was well-represented by FDNY, NYPD, EMT personnel representing their fallen comrades. Local politicians were also in attendance and Borough President Marty Markowitz spoke out boldly against U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
Some young men, at the adjacent court, continued to play basketball and they could be heard celebrating when they shot a hoop. Otherwise, the mood of the moment was sober, but hopeful. The musical presentations were very touching, as everyone listened to songs with themes of love, friendship, and peace, such as, the Beatles'”Let It Be” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. There were quite a few tearjerkers that were played, such as “Little Did She Know” and they helped us remember the sacrifice that our heroes and their families make each day as they go to work.
The names of many who perished that fateful day are painted on the handball court mural, which started almost as a mandate from God. Many of you may already be familiar with the mural artist, Ray “Rockin’ Ray” Fiore, whose colorful personality is reflected onto the canvas and his car. Ray, who was standing by with a ladder, paint, and brushes to add names to the wall, said that he was inspired to express his emotions a few days after September 11, 2001, telling those who tried to stop him that “God told me” to do this. From then on, his artwork has been a welcome memorial.
The Brooklyn-Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial Committee is a cohesive bunch who understands that our community needs a venue in which we can honor the memories of those lost on that day. These hardworking people, who put the focus off of themselves, are: Mary Bracken, Regina Coyle, Mary Dwyer, John & Linda Errante, Tina Gray, David Meisel, Angela Sabino, and Albert Semey. Ray Fiore, who as the artist who inspired the annual tribute with the mural, has a big part in its planning.
By the time, the memorial was over, the mood had turned from sober to hopeful and healing, in true Bay spirit as the crowd sang “New York, New York” and the committee locked arms to do leg-kicks, Rockettes-style. Many wished that the committee would keep up this tradition “forever”. Sheepshead Bites will be there, as Bob Benefield so aptly put it in a speech delivered at the memorial, to remember “a day of tears”.
(Photos by Ray Johnson)