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Maspeth residents honor victims of 9/11

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Seven years have passed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which destroyed the World Trade Center and killed 3,000 people — a long time for many.

But in Maspeth, home to the firehouse that lost the most firefighters of any in the city that day, residents are not prepared to put it behind them.

More than 150 people turned out for the community's annual ceremony at Maspeth Memorial Park, a block away from the firehouse that Squad 288 and HazMat 1 call home. The two outfits lost 19 people during the attack.

"Devastating events such as 9/11 and Pearl Harbor have no closure for those involved," said Kenneth Rudzewick, president of Maspeth Federal Savings, which sponsored the event.

Firefighters and family members placed 25 flags at the monument inscribed with the names of the first responders who either lived or worked in Maspeth and died in the aftermath of the attack.

"We are still a wounded people, sharing loss and pain," said the Rev. Peter Zendzian of Holy Cross Church.

Elected officials also turned out to pay their respects.

"We all lost something that day," said U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), whose cousin, John Moran, a battalion chief, died in the Twin Towers. "It'll be a great deal of time before we in Maspeth ever forget."

State Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) worried that the number of ceremonies commemorating the attacks was diminishing.

"It is so important that we continue to remember the sacrifice those people made," he said. "We have a sacred obligation to remember."

For some, like Hempstead, L.I., resident Tess Hunter, whose son John Hunter was one of the fallen firefighters from Squad 288, it is difficult to remember anything since that fateful Tuesday.

"The past seven years have been like a blank," she said, noting that she still attends therapy sessions with other people traumatized by the attacks. "I don't remember Christmases, I don't remember Easters. ... We're living with it, but we will never forget."

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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