Setauket resident Joyce Fedorowski said she visits the Setauket Fire Department's 9/11 memorial park frequently, "praying to the angels" who lost their lives that day.
"It's hard, very hard. I lean in and touch the beams," said Federowski, whose son Jim Condit is both a New York City firefighter and a Setauket FD volunteer.
Fedorowski and daughter-in-law Christina Condit were just two of the many people who attended Tuesday night's 9/11 memorial ceremony at Station 3.
It's a tradition each year, drawing people not just from the Three Village community but beyond as well. "They've done a beautiful job on this memorial and it gets better every year," said Barbara Fanning of Kings Park.
This year's ceremony honored the police canine units from Suffolk County who worked at Ground Zero. Representing them was officer Donna Capute and her new partner, Dante. Capute worked at Ground Zero with her previous partner Cody, who since passed away.
The memorial ceremony means a lot to Sarah Hubbard, whose father Jimmy worked for six months at Ground Zero and helped the fire department obtain the steel beams used in the Setauket FD memorial park.
"You can tell everyone feels connected by it," she said. "We feel for those who lost loved ones."
The memorial is maintained by members of the Setauket FD, but were aided by several community businesses and organizations in preparing it for Tuesday's event, including BB & GG Farms and AnnMarie's Farm Stand, Four-D Landscaping, Troffa Landscaping, and the Setauket FD Juniors/Explorer post.
Jan Stevens, who attended with her daughter Anna, said ceremonies like this one help very young kids understand what happened on 9/11. "This is so memorable for them because they were not around for that day. This is going to forever be in their lives," she said.
As a young child, Trevor Munsch, now 16, remembered seeing the events of 9/11 unfold on TV, but couldn't comprehend it until he got older. "It's very overwhelming," he said. "... It's such a different world now."
Carlton "Hubble" Edwards, a lifelong resident of Three Village and member of the America Legion's Irving Hart post, described the day as solemn – but with one notable idea.
"We're happy that we live in a country that can come back, after all these years," he said.