A fitting tribute
Participants hold candles aloft while walking the labyrinth

SCN/Musetti Carlin

A fitting tribute


SAYVILLE—On Monday, Sept. 11, the 15th annual memorial service was held at The Common Ground in Sayville’s Rotary Park, organized by Susan Kubelle. The event brought together a large group of like-minded people, who solemnly sang, prayed, praised and remembered that fateful day when the World Trade Center was under attack, taking New York’s iconic Twin Towers down along with close to 3,000 lives.  

The program opened with Sayville’s American Legion color guard, Commander Steven Antonucci presiding, leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Twin Shores Men’s Chorus singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Tears were in the eyes of many in attendance. Father Lawrence “Larry” Chadwick, associate pastor of St. John Nepomucene R.C. Church in Bohemia, offered a prayer for those lives lost and those they left behind to remember.

Common Ground past president Barbara Fitzpatrick and current president Judy Abrams thanked everyone for coming in their opening remarks.  Fitzpatrick reminded everyone of the fleeting moments we share in this life, stating, “Don’t miss an opportunity to smile at somebody,” and “I hope the youth of today will remember what we will never forget.” 

Today’s youth were well represented by the Pilot Club of Sayville’s Anchor Club, student volunteers who were there to help out in any way, including handing out candles to be used when everyone joined each other to walk the labyrinth, illuminating the solemn spirit of the evening’s service.  When asked how old they were on Sept. 11, they collectively said, “1 year old!”

Elementary students, accompanied by their music teacher Rachel White from Bohemia’s Sycamore Avenue School, sang “We Shall Overcome.”   White also graced the crowd with several inspirational songs, including “Amazing Grace,” “The Prayer” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” accompanied on piano by Cindy Holden of St. John’s Lutheran Church.  

Memories of that day were still fresh for so many.  Commander Antonucci was in the city working right across from Ground Zero.  He watched the first building coming down amidst clouds of smoke; then the second plane hit.  Having been in Vietnam, he said he knew by the looks of the situation that we were under attack.  He proceeded to help out the evacuation of Stuyvesant High School students.  

The Pilot Club’s Eileen Tyznar was on her way to give blood at NYU when her vehicle was turned away in the wake of the crisis.  Father Larry had been driving back from a parish in Dix Hills when he heard it on the radio. Rachel White was supposed to be working at the World Trade Center that day but was asked to cover the Brooklyn location instead, not even knowing what was going on until her mom frantically reached her, asking if she was seeing what was happening in Manhattan. 

Performer Tim Huss sang a moving “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” and “God Bless the U.S.A.,” songs he’s sung since he witnessed the plumes rising from the wreckage.  Sayville resident John Robilotta, who wears a black cap he’d purchased days after Sept. 11, was compelled to write a poem, which he recited for all gathered to share as a community in solidarity.  Young singer Isabel “Izzy” Artz sang an emotional, heartfelt version of  “Hallelujah.”

 Walking the labyrinth at The Common Ground, led by Nancy Angermaier (aka “Purple Nancy”), was powerfully solemn as each person held a candle, coming together in a circle after reaching the end as one. It was reminiscent of everyone coming together at The Common Ground and other communities throughout the United States to remember Sept. 11, the victims, the families, the first responders, the day that altered history forever.