September 11 is a time of reflection, of remembering lives cut tragically short on a day that left a heartbroken nation forever changed. But despite the overwhelming loss and despair, the 11 years since have been colored with the courage of survivors who have found the inner strength to persevere. Despite a loss of innocence, 9/11 has given birth to a sea of patriotism and an outpouring of volunteerism that shows the best of what America can be.
On the anniversary of the attacks, Hauppauge Patch would like to share some of the local stories of 9/11, of memories and lost loved ones, that have touched us over the years.
The work of Nesconset resident John Feal has brought attention to the selfless acts of 9/11 responders and their battles with illnesses stemming from working at Ground Zero – something he is personally familiar with.
“I worked for five-and-a-half days before I was horribly injured when 8,000 pounds of steel crushed my left foot. I spent 11 weeks in the hospital with gangrene and I wound up eventually losing half my left foot,” he said.
Following his injury and work at Ground Zero, Feal was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he has not taken any medication for the condition in years and that helping others through his FealGood Foundation, a non-profit organization created to help 9/11 responders, is his therapy.
A sister to a Hauppauge native killed on 9/11 said she has more empathy for others after living through the tragedy.
St. James resident Stephanie Tipping lost her brother, John, a firefighter who responded to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. But despite having grown up in a family of first responders she said she wasn’t fully prepared.
“I grew up with firefighters my whole life and never saw loss, and with 9/11 there was such loss. It’s different for us now when you hear a call or an alert,” Tipping said.
Published in 2011
Donna Marie Velazquez, the daughter of Hauppauge resident and 9/11 casualty Frank Moccia, said the wound left by his death is still fresh after 10 years.
Velazquez, of Port Jefferson Station, said her father loved his job as a graphic designer at Washington Group International in the south tower. Mocccia’s body was never recovered.
Published in 2011
For a Hauppauge High School alumni who lost her husband after Sept. 11, a decade has changed her perspective on parenting and the world.
Rita Brophy, of Smithtown, lost her husband, New York police officer and Sept. 11 first responder, Thomas, to stage 4 colon cancer on April 21, 2005. He was 36.
“Sept. 11, it changed everything. It changed how our kids are growing up today. As a parent, you feel you have to keep more of an eye on them,” Rita said.
published in 2011
It didn't take the tragic events on 9/11 for Suffolk County to provide security for its residents, but Legis. John Kennedy Jr., R-Nesconset, said it forced local government to be more proactive in security measures – which has not changed 10 years later.
The 9/11 Responders Remembered memorial wall was unveiled Saturday morning at Gibbs Pond Road and Smithtown Boulevard. Many felt, for the first time, they finally had fitting tribute honoring their loved ones on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"It means the world to me to see the wall up," said Glen Klein, sergeant at arms of the 9/11 Responders Remembered nonprofit. "There has not been any place for those who lost a responder after 9/11 to go."
Klein, a retired New York police officer and 9/11 responder, has lost five friends since the attacks due to 9/11 related illnesses. Their names will be engraved on the memorial.
Tell us, how will you remember the Sept. 11 attacks this year?