As the sun set on Sunday, September 16th over 6,000 community members gathered in Juniper Valley Park to mourn the missing and those who perished during the September 11th tragedy. This candle Light Vigil was perhaps the largest in the City of New York and will be remembered forever by those who attended. This event was a moving tribute to all of our heroes and a way for community residents to show solidarity and support for our Great United States of America. Organized in part by the JPCA and a group of parent activists at Saint Margaret's Church led by Kathy and Steve Pellegrino, the Metzger Family, and the Gallagher Family, the evening's backdrop was a beautiful 45 star flag from 1898. All attendees held candles and most waved flags as they sang along to patriotic music provided by Rob Fisk. The program was opened by the youth of our community leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Speakers such as Councilman Tom Ognibene, Assemblyman Mike Cohen, Police Officer Joseph Cimino and local Firefighters told us tales of bravery and human kindness in the face of New York's worst moment. One could never forget, Fire Officer John Postel in full uniform waving his flag and remembering our City's loss and his time spent at Ground Zero. Rose Martello ended the Vigil with her rendition of Amazing Grace set to bag pipes which left the crowd in silence and in tears.
The vigil was capped off by 1500 people participating in an impromptu mile march to Maspeth, ending at the -- firehouse to mourn the 19 firefighter heroes lost at the WTC.
Having the vigil at Juniper Valley Park was especially poignant because people would always marvel at the wonderful view of the twin towers and Manhattan skyline. As residents turned to sing the song "Battle Hymn of The Republic" the smoke from the World Trade Center could be seen in the red sky. A moving moment for all. A memorial, perhaps at this very site, is in the works by the JPCA. An Anniversary Vigil is being planned by Kathy Pellegrino and the Juniper Park Civic. The Juniper Park Civic Association wishes to express our deepest sympathies for all those who lost loved ones on September 11th. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with you and your families.