Nesconset residents were joined by residents across Long Island in celebrating the first Christmas tree lighting at the 9/11 Responders Remembered memorial.
A few hundred gathered on the corner of Gibbs Pond Road and Smithtown Boulevard Saturday evening to ring in the holiday season together. Member of the 9/11 Responders Remembered nonprofit organization thanked local businesses and volunteers for their help completing the memorial, down to the crush stoned for the pathways and landscaping.
Children from St. James Elementary School performed a series of songs including "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," "Santa Claus is coming to Town" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
All those young at heart were surprised when Santa arrived in time to celebrate, shaking hands, giving hugs and taking photos. Hot chocolate and candy canes were handed out to the crowd.
Suffolk County Legis. John Kennedy, R-Nesconset; New York State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Smithtown, and Smithtown Town officials were on hand to share the holidays with residents.
The 9/11 Responders Remembered memorial this September, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, to honor those first responders who have died of illnesses after responding to the call to duty.