LIDO BEACH, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — More than 1,000 people gathered in Lido Beach on Long Island on Friday morning for a somber sunrise ceremony marking the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The men and women were standing apart socially distancing, but their hearts were one as they remembered those lost on that day.
Lou Alvarez died last June of 9/11-related cancer.
Phil Alvarez touched his brother's name on the Wall of Remembrance and said he misses him every day.
"He just had one mission and that's to instill a legacy in his boys that when you start something that's important to you, you try to finish that," he told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall. "Every day is a difficult day without my brother, today I am honored to remember him, but also to remember the many heroes that this day produced."
Ann Walsh took a deep breath to hold back her emotions as she spoke with Hall. This is the first time she has found the strength to attend a 9/11 remembrance service. She lost many coworkers in Tower 2, where she worked, including her boss who was just 26 years old.
"I think about his family, I think about his friends, how his parents are coping, how his siblings are coping, there's so many people that I worked with directly, people that sat next to me that didn't make it out of the building," Walsh said.
Many at the ceremony did not know someone who died on that awful day, but came to pay their respects and honor the vow to never forget.
"Today every American should take a minute out of their day and just reflect on those who passed on," a firefighter from Oceanside said.
"It's very emotional, especially with everything that's going on. We struggled through that terrorist attack 19 years ago, going through COVID, going through the unrest in America, it's just very difficult, cause these were innocent lives, all lives, there was no discrimination that day," one woman said.
Another woman brought her 3-year-old grandson. She said he does not understand the meaning of the day yet, but one day he will.
"My son is a policeman and a fireman. This little guy knows all about giving and helping," the woman said.
At the end of the service, mourners were given white carnations. They threw them into the ocean and many people prayed and looked into the heavens to remember their loved ones.