9/11 Memorial Park in Riverhead jut prior to the remembrance service on Sept. 11, 2020. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The Sound Park Heights Civic Association will host its annual candlelight walk and remembrance service Monday evening at the 9/11 Memorial Park on Sound Avenue and Lt. Thomas Kelly Memorial Road (Park Road.)

There will be a procession from Marine Street in Reeves Park to the memorial park beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by a ceremony at the four-acre park dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The Reeves Park community has been holding a memorial service on the corner of Sound Avenue and Lt. Thomas Kelly Memorial Drive since 2010, even before the park itself was established in 2013.

The tiny community on the Long Island Sound lost two residents in the collapse of the twin towers 22 years ago. Both were NYC firefighters who died trying to rescue people trapped inside the towers: Thomas Kelly, 38, and Jonathan Ielpi, 29.

A third Riverhead resident, Derrick Washington of Calverton, a 33-year-old Verizon technician, perished in the World Trade Center.

Thomas R. Kelly, left, Derrick Washington and Jonathan Ielpi.

“As you know, our Reeves Park community has strong ties to the 9-11 tragedy and we plan to continue this tradition of respect and remembrance for years to come,” Sound Park Heights Civic Association President Tom O’Haire said.

The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives, including 343 members of FDNY and 23 members of NYPD. More than 6,000 people were injured.

On that morning, terrorists hijacked four West Coast-bound jumbo jets departing from airports in Boston, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and Newark, New Jersey. The terrorists piloted two Boeing 767s into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and crashed a Boeing 757 into the Pentagon. The fourth plane, a Boeing 767, crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania southeast of Pittsburgh, after a passenger revolt and a fight in the cockpit. The 9/11 Commission concluded that its target was either the United States Capitol building or the White House in Washington, D.C.

The impact of the jets, fully loaded with fuel, caused explosions and fires that led to the collapse of the twin towers and a partial collapse of the Pentagon. A 47-story skyscraper near the twin towers, 7 World Trade Center, also caught fire and fell.

NYC firefighters at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001. Image from a collection of unattributed photographs in the Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

An estimated 410,000 first responders, survivors and clean-up crews spent days, weeks and months working to recover human remains at the World Trade Center site that became known as Ground Zero and clean up the disaster. As they worked, they inhaled noxious dust, chemicals, fumes and particles.

Exposure to the contaminated air and toxic chemicals at Ground Zero is associated with a host of illnesses, including cancers and mesothelioma. In the years since the attacks, more people have died from 9/11 toxic exposure than died in the attacks, according to the World Trade Center Health Program.

According to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York 339 members of FDNY died of World Trade Center related illnesses between September 25, 2002 and Aug. 28, 2023.

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