Caribbean pols pay tribute to victims of 9/11 attacks

The Tribute in Light shines in downtown Manhattan to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Caribbean American legislators in Brooklyn on Friday paid tribute to the victims and “brave” first responders on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“Nineteen years ago, the terrorist attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001 changed our city and world forever,” Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told Caribbean Life on Friday. 

“Today, we remember the victims and brave first responders who sacrificed their lives to save their fellow New Yorkers,” added Bichotte, the chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “We also mourn for victims and their families around the country. We will not and cannot forget the bravery that ordinary New Yorkers exhibited on 9/11. As we honor those we lost, we should also remember and hold on to the unity that transpired in the aftermath of the tragedy, making our city whole again.” 

Bichotte noted that, at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, New York, 2,753 people were killed when two hijacked planes flew into the twin towers of the then World Trade Center. 

Coordinated attacks also occurred at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA and at a field in Stonycreek, PA, where Flight 93 crashed after passengers thwarted its hijackers. 

This year, the anniversary of 9/11 was marked by two ceremonies — the official one at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in lower Manhattan and another, hosted by the Stephen Stiller Tunnel, at the Towers Foundation, a few blocks away. 

At the official ceremony, families of 9/11 victims were welcomed to the memorial but were asked to wear masks and practice social distancing to protect themselves from potential COVID-19 infection. The museum was expected to open to the public on Saturday. 

Houses of Worship across New York City were urged on Friday to toll their bells at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the North Tower, to honor the victims.

Shortly after sunset Friday, twin beams of light, known as the “Tribute in Light,” shone from the roof of the Battery Parking Garage in lower Manhattan, four miles into the sky, echoing the shape of the Twin Towers.

“Nineteen years after the attacks of Sept. 11, the memories, the pain, the devastating impact of unimaginable loss remains heavy on the hearts and minds of New Yorkers and the nation,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants. 

“I pray all who lost loved ones have found some measure of healing and modicum of peace,” he added. “We remember not only those who were killed on that day, but all, especially first responders, who have suffered and lost their lives to illness as a result of their courage to provide aid in the area of the attack. I hope that all with the power of action will use it to help those in pain. 

“Now, as we did then, is a time to comfort all who are mourning, to support all who are struggling, to give gratitude to our heroes and aid to our suffering neighbors,” he continued. “Tragedy can, sometimes, discourage a city, a nation; but, with commitment and tenacity, I am strong in my belief that New York and its people will remain strong and unified, lifting each other in times of tragedy, and standing together to rebuild and recover.”

Haitian-born New York City Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene noted that the world on Friday paused to “remember the thousands of individuals from all walks of life and nationalities who were taken from us in a horrific act of terrorism that changed the soul of our great nation. 

“We recall the legacies and eternal spirit of our loved ones, and we vow to continue to uphold the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that have guided us through the most difficult of circumstances,” said Dr. Eugene, the first Haitian to be elected New York City Council.

Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, tweeted on Friday that “the entire FDNY (Fire Department of New York) answered the call,” when the twin towers were attacked by terrorists. 

She noted that the firefighters made “their way to the burning World Trade Center complex to save the lives of countless civilians.

“#NeverForget!” tweeted the representative for the primarily Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.

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