About 50 local residents gathered on the green in Jamesport this afternoon for the first annual Jamesport Memorial Service honoring the heroes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, military veterans and police.
The ceremonies were jointly sponsored by the Greater Jamesport Civic Association and the East End Emerald Society.
The flagpole at the memorial site came down in a storm last winter. Greater Jamesport Civic president William Van Helmond said his organization decided to replace it and enlisted the aid of the East End Emerald Society, which has hosted a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Jamesport since 2014.
“We honor and respect and remember the police, firefighters and EMS who rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center to try to save lives — many who lost their own lives in the process,” said Van Helmond.
“We honor and respect and remember the brave responders who fell ill from time spent sifting through the rubble, first to try to find survivors and then to search for remains,” he said.
“Let us never forget.”
“We must also never forget those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy today, our veterans,” Van Helmond said.
“We will never forget,” Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said. “We will never forget those who ran in to save others,” she said. “The actions of first responders on that day and in the days, weeks and months that followed reminded the world of who we are and the values that unite us at a time of national tragedy and grief.”
Color guard units from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Van Rensselaer Skidmore Post No. 2476 in Riverhead and the Riverhead Town Police Department presented the colors to commence today’s ceremonies. The Riverhead High School chamber choir, under the direction of Dena Tisham, performed the National Anthem and God Bless America. Bagpiper Tim Kelly of Cutchogue performed opening and closing musical selections.
Jack Cuddy, 92, a charter member of the New York City Emerald Society and the grand marshal of the first Jamesport St. Patrick’s Day parade, hoisted Old Glory and a commemorative 9/11 flag up the new polce. Cuddy, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, is a retired NYPD chief of detectives who went on to a second career as a chief investigator for the Nassau County district attorney. His son John, a retired NYPD detective, is a charter member of the East End Emerald Society.
Cuddy was joined today by successor grand marshals, Judge Allen Smith, Councilman James Wooten and former supervisor Sean Walter.
A special surprise during today’s ceremony was a flyover by a World War II-era biplane, a 1940 Navy trainer piloted by Major James Cear (USAF Ret.) of Jamesport. The plane circled twice over the village green, drawing applause from the crowd.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti