Remembrance was the theme on Friday night at on Sunrise Highway in Lindenhurst. Remembrance of those troops who have fallen in service to their country. Remembrance for those POWs/MIA who are not with their loved ones. Remembrance of those who lost their lives in the attacks on September , 2001.
"The heinous terrorist acts on September displayed the worst in human nature. It can be argued that terrorists are inhuman," said Town Councilman Tony Martinez.
He was among numerous war veterans; friends and families; more than 20 Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops who set up tents on Town Hall lawn and camped until Saturday morning at 7 a.m.; elected officials, including Suffolk County Legislator ; Assemblyman ; and Juan Leon (representing Congressman Steve Israel); who joined members of Sergeant John Sardiello American Legion Post Number 1634, West Babylon-Deer Park, including Paul Buffa, Post commander, at the special vigil set up with Town of Babylon.
"However, our response as Americans to these attacks, show the world our humanity. We’ve come together as a nation regardless of race, creed or social status," the councilman added.
That tone was held steady right from the 8 p.m. start of the vigil on September 9. The vigil's purpose became even clearer when Jay Abbondondelo, American Legion Post 1634, stood on the steps of Town Hall against a backdrop of a gigantic American flag draped down from the top of the building to the floor.
"Why are we here? ….Remember, support and closure. If we don't remember those who haven’t come home, then we're doing our families, county and servicemen an injustice," he said.
Abbondondelo shared the story of a woman whose son was shot down in World War II while fighting in Germany: "She spent many months trying to find out where her son was, but nobody could really help her at that time.”
Sometime later Life Magazine had an article that featured a picture of a POW camp in Germany. "There, she saw her son....She went to her elected officials, and found out her son was shot, the Germans operated on him by putting a metal plate in his head, and he survived the war."
That woman was his aunt: "I know what it's like to have an MIA and POW in the family, and we have to support those who've come home, and remember those who haven’t."
Martinez further echoed Abbondondelo's sentiment.
"We're here to remember the sacrifices and services of POWs and those who are MIA," he said, adding an invitation to the on at the Town of Babylon September 11, 2001 Memorial on Ocean Parkway in between Overlook and Cedar Beaches.
He also spoke of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in 2009 by the Taliban, and is still held captive to this day: "Our nation has not forgotten him; the Army has promoted him twice since his capture."
Close to Home
According to the US Department of Defense, there are more than 83,000 people unaccounted for, dating back to World War I.
“Think of what your families would feel if you didn't come home, and they didn't know where you were," Legislator Horsley said, adding, "Husbands, wives and children went to work on 9/11, and were attacked by an evil. Nearly 3,000 of our Americans were killed that day, and they weren't combatants, but they became combatants. It's very similar, because they never came home to their families like those who fought in previous wars."
Legislator Horsley also remembered the 48 Babylon Town residents who died in the 9/11 attacks: "Some of them, no remains have been found so they could be properly buried. We're proud of those who died in 9/11."
Concluding the ceremony was the setting of a small table, known as POW/MIA Remembrance. It symbolizes those missing, and haven't come home.
"They are unable to be with their families, so we join together to pay humble tribute to them, and to hear witness to their continued absence," noted officials.
Legislator Horsley read off each aspect of the table, and flags raised by hundreds in attendance were held high in respect and remembrance.
Editor's Note: Take a peek at the images from the September 9 vigil, too.