As people across Long Island gathered Saturday to remember the events of 9/11 and honor those who were lost, Three Villagers did the same at the Setauket Fire Department's candlelight ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on Nicolls Road.
About 150 people watched as fire department officers, Assemb. Steve Englebright, and councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld presented wreaths dedicated to the honor of the police, firefighters, EMS crews and civilians who lost their lives on 9/11. Rev. Gregory Leonard of Bethel AME Church, who serves as the fire department's chaplain, delivered an address which spoke to the nation's spirituality and patriotism.
Retired FDNY division chief Joseph DiBernardo lit the first candle of a candlelight vigil in which the flame was passed from person to person and a profound moment of silence was observed. Members of the Thomas O'Shaughnessy Memorial Pipe Band performed "Amazing Grace," and former Port Jefferson fire chief Tommy Totten played "Taps."
Fire Chief Brendan Brown highlighted two local heroes who lost their lives on 9/11, volunteer firefighter Frank Bonomo and FDNY captain Thomas Moody, both of whom are remembered at the department's Main Street station with a plaque.
On the ninth anniversary, the pleasant weather was reminiscent of that of Sept. 11, 2001.
"It was a day just like this," Englebright said. "A beautiful day...but a day in which the worst and best of this country were on display."
Some with ties to the World Trade Center came to the memorial on Saturday for a moment of reflection.
"It's very emotional every year," said Jose Aneiros of Nesconset, who worked at the WTC for about seven months before 9/11. "I just thought I'd share a few moments with my relatives and the fire department."
Nancy Weeden of South Setauket has come to the memorial each year.
"We should never forget 9/11 and the families," she said. "It's important that we always keep them in our hearts."
Teresa Hempel of Chicago, visiting relatives in Stony Brook, spent the day in New York City before attending the memorial.
"It's just been an emotional day," she said. "The theme I'm hearing over and over is 'Never forget.' Everybody's coming together in unity."
More on Patch: Sound Bites: Reverend Delivers 9/11 Memorial Address