OSSINING, N.Y. Ten years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, an interfaith church service, followed by a waterfront memorial service, brought back indelible memories of shock, pain and anger, as well as memories of how the community bonded after the attacks.
"At the time, I was the president of the Park School PTA and everyone was calling to ask 'How can I help?'" recalled Ossining Town Supervisor Catherine Borgia. "There was an abundance, an outpouring of love, compassion and kindness."
Speaking in front of an intimate crowd on Sunday, shortly after the sun set over the Hudson River, Borgia said that in the days following 9/11, firefighters and other first responders vied with each other to be able to rush down to help in New York City.
"We all remember so well the disbelief, the shock, the anger, but I remember also our community, the strength in our coming together," Borgia said.
Briarcliff village Manager Philip Zegarelli said 9/11 changed the definitions of terrorism and heroism.
"We're here enjoying health and safety because we have people in the armed services protecting us in countless countries," Zegarelli said. "We've redefined what a hero is by looking at the direction of our men and women in uniform ... They're going in one direction so we can go safely in another."
Susan Snell, of Newburgh, whose boyfriend is a Briarcliff police officer, attended both the 9/11 memorial service at Louis Engel Waterfront Park and the 9/11 service at the Briarcliff firehouse on Sunday.
"I think it helps us not forget the seriousness of it," she said. "I think it's embedded in our mind, something that's so strong, and it all kind of comes back as if it just happened."
Guosheng Zhu, of Ossining, agreed.
"I think this is a very meaningful event," he said. "People should keep in mind that peace is very important and realize that we live in a world of diversified cultures and people need to get along with each other."
The 9/11 memorial speeches were followed by a candle lighting, a rifle salute and moment of reflection, the placing of wreaths and a singing of Amazing Grace and America the Beautiful.
The names of four locals who died in the 9/11 attacks were also read: Arthur Jones and Robert Haag of Ossining, and Ariel Jacobs and Krishna Moorthy, of Briarcliff.
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