Sixteen years have passed since the catastrophic attack on Sept. 11. Many pledged during that time to “never forget” the horror. To honor that commitment, the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hosted a memorial service at Borough Hall on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2017 to stand with the relatives of some of the victims and to remind the community of the indirect effects that still haunt some first responders and the community at large since the fateful day.
In welcoming the group of invited guests, the New York City Police Department and the New York Fire Department, Adams hailed the first responders, as the best and the bravest, some of whom are still suffering as a result of illnesses they developed while working at Ground Zero and are now battling for their lives. Borough President Adams asked that the relatives of the victims keep the memories of the victims alive, ‘but most importantly turn pain into purpose.”
In addition to his welcoming remarks, the Borough President also made a personal contribution of $5,000.00 to the Leon W. Smith, Jr. Foundation, a former New York City fire fighter and a victim of Sept. 11. The organization which was started by the mother of the late fire fighter is based in Brooklyn, and works to help students. In making her contribution to the event and thanking the borough president for the kind gesture, Mrs. Irene W. Smith, mother of the late Leon W. Smith, Jr. recommitted herself to continue the work of the 13-year-old organization, started in the memory of her son. According to Smith, the funds raised are given to students in high schools and colleges each year, and the funds are given based on the students’ needs and their academic achievements.
New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill in his statement to the audience noted that “New York City is still a target.” The commissioner commented also on the fighting strength of relatives who continue to speak out.
Fire Department of NY City Commissioner’s Daniel A. Nigro said that since the horrific day, some 133 first responders have died as a result of illnesses they developed while working at the old World Trade Center. Other relatives of some victims, Kathleen Vigiano, Police Officer Joseph John Vigiano, and Katherine Khatari also spoke on the importance of keeping the legacies of the victims alive.