A Proud Community Forever Healing

The 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony takes place at 1p.m. on Sept. 11, 2021, at the “Reaching Through the Shadow” Memorial at Croton Landing Park, Croton-on-Hudson. (In event of rain > Harmon Firehouse, 20 Wayne Street, Croton-on-Hudson.) Presiding will be Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi, Croton-on-Hudson Mayor Brian Pugh, Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker.

The 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony takes place at 1p.m. on Sept. 11, 2021, at the “Reaching Through the Shadow” Memorial at Croton Landing Park, Croton-on-Hudson. (In event of rain > Harmon Firehouse, 20 Wayne Street, Croton-on-Hudson.) Presiding will be Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi, Croton-on-Hudson Mayor Brian Pugh, Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. A very sad and tragic day for our Country, region — and for our community, as well.

September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday, and it started out as a bright, sunny day right after Labor Day. People were back from their summer vacations, children were back in school, and everyone was back to work, preparing for a good and successful year as we embarked on a new decade.

Then, suddenly, our entire world and our lives changed forever when we learned early that morning, around 9:30 a.m., that the World Trade Center and The Pentagon had been attacked, and a commercial airplane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania — all by terrorists who wanted to destroy us.

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Like the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, this day will also “live in infamy,” to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As Town of Cortlandt Supervisor, I sent all our employees home, locked our doors, and stayed at Town Hall to receive information and then pass it along to our board and community.

I was joined by three other key department heads to assist me that day. I remember contacting the Governor’s office (George Pataki), and other elected officials at various levels of government, and was in communication with Indian Point (nuclear plants) representatives.

The plane that struck the World Trade Center actually flew over Indian Point and the Hudson River. We were fearful another attack would occur at these plants. It was a very difficult and sad day.

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We held moment-of-silence ceremonies and had clergy present to pray with us for those we lost, for their families, for our community, and for our nation.

Many of our First Responders went down to Ground Zero to assist in the search and rescue effort. They are all Heroes.

Every year since 2001, we’ve held memorial services on 9/11 and this year will be the 20th. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. I will never forget and I know you won’t either.

The second important part of our remembrance is that a 9/11 Committee was formed including Cortlandt with Buchanan and Croton-on-Hudson.

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For what’s happening in Peekskill for 9/11, see Local Heroes Remembered and Revered

The chair of the Committee is a wonderful person, Janet Mainiero, who spearheaded our effort to design, find the right location (Croton Landing) and to have a large bronze statue sculpted (by artist Lauren Davis). The designer/architect is James Rhodes and the name we all selected is Reaching through the Shadow. It’s a woman reaching towards the sky reaching, for her lost loved ones on 9/11. It’s very beautiful and is adjacent to the Hudson River. One can walk to this area and reflect on that tragic day.

We are all grateful to the members of this committee who devoted years on this important project. The statue includes a piece of the twisted steel structure of the World Trade Center. We were able to receive it from the Port Authority, and a group of us, including First Responders, went down to an airport hangar, covered it in an American Flag, and bought it back to our community to be stored until it became part of the memorial statue project.

Thank you all. We will never forget and God Bless America.

In Cortlandt, Croton and Buchanan, we lost the following wonderful individuals …

  • William F. Abrahamson
  • George C. Cain (First Responder, F.D.N.Y.)
  • Stephen P. Driscoll (First Responder, N.Y.P.D.)
  • James A. Oakley
  • Michael R. O’Hanlon (First Responder, F.D.N.Y.)
  • Gregory E. Rodriguez
  • Thomas E. Sinton III
  • Randall L. Sprance (Second Responder, U.S. Dept. of Treasury)
  • Joseph J. Zuccala

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About the Author: Linda Puglisi