It may have taken longer than planned, but the Town of Mount Pleasant finally has its 9/11 monument. During the annual ceremony outside Town Hall on Sunday, officials unveiled a Cambrian black granite piece with two five-foot by 14-inch blocks to signify the World Trade Center towers that were attacked and destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. The monument’s towers, each weighing about 1,225 pounds, are affixed to a concrete base and are separated by a centerpiece with an eagle sitting on top.
Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi and Councilwoman Danielle Zaino worked with Mark Saracino of Saracino Monuments in Mahopac on its design. It’s been placed near the flagpole in the circular island in front of Town Hall.
Fulgenzi said he had hoped to have the monument created by last year’s 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, but supply chain issues caused by the pandemic delayed its debut until this year.
“It’s just our way of showing respect for those that were lost,” Fulgenzi said of having the town recognize the nearly 3,000 people who died that day including town resident Michael Lyons. “I think everybody feels loss. This is our way of showing respect for all the lives that have been lost.”
Saracino said once the design was complete, it took about five months to finish the monument. Before the pandemic, it would have taken closer to eight weeks, he said.
Its importance is for future generations to never forget the lives lost, Saracino said, especially those who were too young to remember the day or who weren’t born yet, like his own children.
“I came up on Saturday, and seeing it from the road the most beautiful part of it is knowing that it will be here forever,” said Saracino, a lifelong Mount Pleasant resident. “Hopefully, my children remember this moment and explain to their kids what it meant.”
The commanders of each of the town three American Legion posts – Peter Fiumefreddo of Post 112 in Hawthorne, Drew McFadden of Post 1574 in Thornwood and John Creskey of Post 1038 in Valhalla removed the monument’s covering.
The recurring theme in remarks throughout the area over the weekend was to never forget.
During the Mount Pleasant ceremony, County Legislator Margaret Cunzio (C-Mount Pleasant) said she was at the Westchester County ceremony at Kensico Dam Plaza earlier in the day and was talking to a fire commissioner who was part of the vast eight-month recovery effort at Ground Zero. Cunzio remarked that the commissioner was certain that his name would one day be added to the county’s monument recognizing those who have died from 9/11-related illnesses.
However, in the days, weeks and months following the tragedy, he felt a duty to keep helping others.
“I think the most important thing we can take away from this is we never forget the past, we respect the present and we look forward to the future,” Cunzio said.
Town Councilman Thomas Sialiano, a retired FDNY lieutenant, counts himself among the lucky ones who survived that day. His firehouse was 10 blocks from the Trade Center and his survival was nothing more than being “at the right place at the right time.”
It is why Sialiano continues to devote himself to public service.
“I was always thankful to the Lord that I’m here and I’m trying to help as many people as possible and that’s my give-back to the community and to society,” he said. “I think about my fellow brothers and sisters every day.”