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)

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  • Erica

    Beautifully written. I go every year and this year was the first that I couldn’t make it (late night at the office)…I have pictures in the archives of my own blog very similar to those, with Rockin’ Ray’s car, and such. Dang. It would have been good to finally meet you.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. It’s too bad your work responsibilities made you miss this tradition. There was so much more that happened that I couldn’t include. The whole event was so touching, especially when each speaker was given a copy of Linda Ellis’ book, The Dash. See you, soon.

  • Mary

    I really appericate you putting 9/11 Memorial on the website I really loved it. It was beautiful and heartfull. You are a great person for doing this my name is MARY GOMEZ AND MY MOM ANGELA SABINO, she is one of the committee members who does this every year and reminds people never to forget 9/11 and that everyone who died is in our hearts and souls. Learn to love and not hate no more beacause we truly do not know how much time we have in this world and we should really be embracing life, love one another, and live like theres no tomorrow<3

  • Anonymous

    The event was so nice and I wish I could have done it better justice. Everything went so well and the music setup was a lovely part of the whole ceremony. Thank you, Mary, for supporting your mom and the committee in their planning. All the best.

  • angela

    I too, as well as the rest of the committee members and my 2 kids, Mary & Luigi really appreciate the fact you guys covered this Honorable Memorial.We all lost someone that day and it’s up to us to always remember the sacrifices every person made that day. As long as I can as well as the rest of the committee members we will be here every year to remember ‘A DAY OF TEARS” GOD BLESS YOU and GOD BLESS AMERICA! THANK YOU
    SINCERELY Angela Sabino

  • Tina F. Gray

    Hi. My name is Tina Gray and I’m a member of the Brooklyn-Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial Committee. I would like to thank you so much for such a beautiful page devoted to our memorial. Every year, I agonize over how to make it special for our guests and our honorees. I also drive myself nuts wondering if I did our FDNY, NYPD and EMS along with the 2,749 people murdered on September 11th justice. This gave me my answer for this year.

    The theme this year was “The Dash”. The Dash was the time between we are born and when we leave this earth forever. It really is true that if we learned nothing else from September 11th, it’s that our lives as we know it can end in a flash, so it’s sooooo important that each of us live our “Dash” in way that makes us proud. So, everyone who reads this, please be mindful every day of your dash.

    Many thanks to you, again, for a beautiful page!

  • Anonymous

    Your kind comments and thanks are appreciated. Check back on this site, as I’m sure that you’ll get plenty of comments and ideas, so you’ll have to rack your brain just a little less, next year. Keep up the good work.

  • Cookie Romeo

    It was a great evening full of tears and hope for our great country’s future. My hope is that we and future generations will NEVER FORGET and night like this and the small children running around and maybe questioning their parents about the meaning of this event are what it should be about so that they will also NEVER FORGET.

  • David Meisel

    My name is David Meisel and I am both proud and fortunate to be a member of the 9/11 Memorial Committee. We have been having this Candlelighting Vigil on Sept. 11th since 2002 and every year it seems to be getting better. Ray Fiore started something wonderful by the work he did on this wall. Having these names up of the people who perished on 9/11 reminds us of the seriousness of what happened. These are more then just names; these are men and women who left family members behind. We need to always remember the Firefighters, Police, EMS Workers, the people who just showed up for worked that day and the innocent people on the planes. We had a great turnout this year and hopefully we will long into the future. Hopefully the Parks Department will allow the wall to stand as is. Before closing I would like to thank Mary, Luigi, Connor, Chris, and any of the young people who with their help made this ceremony possible. Last but not least I would like to thank DJ Nick who we rely on to keep this ceremony going year after year.

  • Erica

    Beautifully written. I go every year and this year was the first that I couldn’t make it (late night at the office)…I have pictures in the archives of my own blog very similar to those, with Rockin’ Ray’s car, and such. Dang. It would have been good to finally meet you.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. It’s too bad your work responsibilities made you miss this tradition. There was so much more that happened that I couldn’t include. The whole event was so touching, especially when each speaker was given a copy of Linda Ellis’ book, The Dash. See you, soon.

  • Mary

    I really appericate you putting 9/11 Memorial on the website I really loved it. It was beautiful and heartfull. You are a great person for doing this my name is MARY GOMEZ AND MY MOM ANGELA SABINO, she is one of the committee members who does this every year and reminds people never to forget 9/11 and that everyone who died is in our hearts and souls. Learn to love and not hate no more beacause we truly do not know how much time we have in this world and we should really be embracing life, love one another, and live like theres no tomorrow<3

  • Anonymous

    The event was so nice and I wish I could have done it better justice. Everything went so well and the music setup was a lovely part of the whole ceremony. Thank you, Mary, for supporting your mom and the committee in their planning. All the best.

  • angela

    I too, as well as the rest of the committee members and my 2 kids, Mary & Luigi really appreciate the fact you guys covered this Honorable Memorial.We all lost someone that day and it’s up to us to always remember the sacrifices every person made that day. As long as I can as well as the rest of the committee members we will be here every year to remember ‘A DAY OF TEARS” GOD BLESS YOU and GOD BLESS AMERICA! THANK YOU
    SINCERELY Angela Sabino

  • Tina F. Gray

    Hi. My name is Tina Gray and I’m a member of the Brooklyn-Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial Committee. I would like to thank you so much for such a beautiful page devoted to our memorial. Every year, I agonize over how to make it special for our guests and our honorees. I also drive myself nuts wondering if I did our FDNY, NYPD and EMS along with the 2,749 people murdered on September 11th justice. This gave me my answer for this year.

    The theme this year was “The Dash”. The Dash was the time between we are born and when we leave this earth forever. It really is true that if we learned nothing else from September 11th, it’s that our lives as we know it can end in a flash, so it’s sooooo important that each of us live our “Dash” in way that makes us proud. So, everyone who reads this, please be mindful every day of your dash.

    Many thanks to you, again, for a beautiful page!

  • Anonymous

    Your kind comments and thanks are appreciated. Check back on this site, as I’m sure that you’ll get plenty of comments and ideas, so you’ll have to rack your brain just a little less, next year. Keep up the good work.

  • Cookie Romeo

    It was a great evening full of tears and hope for our great country’s future. My hope is that we and future generations will NEVER FORGET and night like this and the small children running around and maybe questioning their parents about the meaning of this event are what it should be about so that they will also NEVER FORGET.

  • David Meisel

    My name is David Meisel and I am both proud and fortunate to be a member of the 9/11 Memorial Committee. We have been having this Candlelighting Vigil on Sept. 11th since 2002 and every year it seems to be getting better. Ray Fiore started something wonderful by the work he did on this wall. Having these names up of the people who perished on 9/11 reminds us of the seriousness of what happened. These are more then just names; these are men and women who left family members behind. We need to always remember the Firefighters, Police, EMS Workers, the people who just showed up for worked that day and the innocent people on the planes. We had a great turnout this year and hopefully we will long into the future. Hopefully the Parks Department will allow the wall to stand as is. Before closing I would like to thank Mary, Luigi, Connor, Chris, and any of the young people who with their help made this ceremony possible. Last but not least I would like to thank DJ Nick who we rely on to keep this ceremony going year after year.

  • Pingback: This Friday: 9/11 Memorial for 2009 at Bill Brown Park | Sheepshead Bay News Blog

  • Linda and John

    My name is Linda Errante and my husband John and I are proud to be members of the Committee. It is so important to us that so many people of this community and those outside our community, support and never forget those who died on 9/ll. We pride ourselves in never forgetting those who died and honoring and pay tribute to the heros. . . the first responders and family members and friends, who are left behind. We dedicate our memorial to all of them. Thank you all for caring and for sharing all your pictures and comments.