A small section of steel from the destroyed World Trade Center towers will have a quiet home in Plainview, thanks to the persistent efforts of a grass-roots organization.
The two-foot-high section of steel will be the centerpiece of a memorial garden in a Oyster Bay town-owned parklet on Old Country Road, just west of Manetto Hill Road and across from the Plainview Diner.
The section has already arrived in town and is being kept in an undisclosed location until the memorial plans can be completed, said Carol Meschkow, President of Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community, Inc.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey granted the group's request after a years-long application process, said Meschkow, whose citizen's group was assisted by officials at the
Meschkow said she is thrilled that Plainview will be home to such a moving memorial.
"I remember being so overwhelmed on the day it happened, that all those people had died, and I thought they must be remembered," said Meschkow.
Meschkow's group did too: They wanted to seek public funding, rather than private donations, for their memorial project and found assistance in the Town of Oyster Bay. Town officials helped with the application process.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the suicide attack, including 411 emergency workers who died attempting to rescue people and fight fires in the striken Twin Towers. The New York City Fire Department lost 343 of its members, including Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Engine 21 - FDNY, who grew up in Plainview. He was 46 and the son of Deputy Chief William F. Burke, Sr.
After ordering his company to safety, Capt. Burke died attempting to rescue a vicim in the North Tower, according to Fire Department accounts.
At least three others who were Plainview residents at the time died that day. They were: Steve Pollicino, 48; Susan Ann Ruggiero, 30; Adam K. Ruhalter, 40.
Meschkow and Concerned Citizen members envisioned a "quiet memorial," away from a playground or similar community setting. The memorial proposal focused on the out-of-the-way parklet, part of a parcel that was once the Plainview Theatre.
"We wanted it very small and dignified," she said. "This has been a passive park and it's been underutilized. It seemed a perfect fit."
It will take organizers the rest of this month to finalize plans and set a date for a formal dedication.
"We will give this piece the respect and honor it deserves," she said. "It will be a place where children from schools can come on walking tours, a quiet place where individuals can pay our respects.
"I get teared up thinking about this," she continued. "This has been in our hearts, and now we’re bringing it to fruition."