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Brittany ComakSep 11, 2017, 12:35 pm

Mourners commemorate 9/11 anniversary at new memorial in Point Lookout

Residents gathered at the same location 16 years ago to see the billowing smoke after the Twin Towers collapsed

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The Town of Hempstead unveiled its new 9/11 memorial on the beach at Point Lookout on the 16th anniversary of the deadliest attack on American soil. As the stars and stripes hung above the crowd of hundreds Monday morning at Town Park, speakers reminded the audience that though the terrorists stole so much on that fateful day 16 years ago, they also gave something unintended.

"Those terrorists did something they did not want to happen and what that was is it formed a tighter bond among all of us. Not just as Long Islanders, or New Yorkers, but as Americans,” said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.

It was an emotional day for the many Long Islanders, dignitaries, and first responders at the ceremony in Point Lookout, where the permanent 9/11 memorial was officially unveiled to the public. On Sept. 11, 2001, hundreds of Town of Hempstead residents gathered at Point Lookout, where the memorial now stands, and looked west to see smoke billowing in the distance, coming from the Twin Towers.

The town lost 190 residents that day, and Town Supervisor Anthony Santino says the monument will memorialize those lives lost.

"This day, as we stand in a brand new, permanent, memorial park, Hempstead Town is committed to preserving that legacy for our families and future generations," Santino said.

Friends and family were invited to trace the names of the loved ones they may have lost during the September 11th attacks, among the thousands listed that were victims on that day.

The monument also includes the names of those who have died from 9/11 related illnesses, like firefighter Ray Pfeiffer, who battled for healthcare for 9/11 first responders until his death earlier this year.

The town says that more names will unfortunately be added to this monument, as more men and women die from the after effects of the recovery efforts.

"Ray was an imperfect man who made this imperfect world a better place, for sure," said MaryEllen McKee, Ray Pfeifer's sister.

"On September 11th, life changed. But we love this country. This great land graced by God almighty," said Rabbi Charles Klein.

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