2017-09-13 / Front Page

St. Michael’s Cemetery Holds Annual 9/11 Memorial Service


(L. to r.); St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, essay contest winner Alexander Santora, grand prize winner Noor Imran, Congressman Joe Crowley, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Master of Ceremonies and Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, and 
Photo Jason D. Antos (L. to r.); St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, essay contest winner Alexander Santora, grand prize winner Noor Imran, Congressman Joe Crowley, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Master of Ceremonies and Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, and Photo Jason D. Antos The historic St. Michael’s Cemetery of East Elmhurst has honored the victims of the September 11 terror attacks for 16 years with community events, a two-mile “Remember Me” run, and the dedication of several memorials honoring those who lost their lives on that fateful day at the World Trade Center and in the years that followed from working at the disaster site known as “The Pile,” from an array of illnesses.

This year, St. Michael’s featured a new type of memorial service, which included the first annual 9/11 Essay Competition. The topic of the essay was “What does it mean to be an American?”


NYPD Commanding Officer of the 114th Precinct Deputy Inspector Captain Peter Fortune. 
Photos Jason D. Antos NYPD Commanding Officer of the 114th Precinct Deputy Inspector Captain Peter Fortune. Photos Jason D. Antos Sponsored by the New York Community Bank (NYCB) and the Christopher Santora Scholarship Fund, the winning essays went to several students from area schools, including Sruthi Manish ($250), Jasmine Palma ($150) and Nabid Chowdhury ($100), all attendees of IS 227; and Clarisse Teves ($250), Alexander Santora ($150) and Tenzin Panamser Kang ($100), all attendees of PS 166. The grand prize of $1,500 went to high school student Noor Imran, and was presented with the prize by Rosaura Pagan, representing NYCB.

Elected officials were present at the event, including Congressman Joe Crowley, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Councilman Costa Constantinides. All three elected officials shared their memories of that fateful day and encouraged everyone to never forget.


Al and Maureen Santora, parents of Christopher Santora, the youngest FDNY member to be killed on 9/11. Al and Maureen Santora, parents of Christopher Santora, the youngest FDNY member to be killed on 9/11. Master of Ceremonies, Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, led the memorial with St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn, co-Coordinator of the event, as they have for the past 16 years. Also in attendance and participating were Al and Maureen Santora, parents of Christopher Santora, the youngest FDNY member to be killed on 9/11, as well as NYPD Commanding Officer of the 114th Precinct Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, Ret. Police Officer Timmy Motto and St. Michael’s Cemetery General Manager Dennis Werner.

During the memorial service, the faces of fallen FDNY, PAPD and NYPD officers were displayed on a video screen, while Daniel Siford performed the National Anthem and the original pieces, “Halfway To Heaven” and “The Spirit of America.” Hank Fellows wrote the music and lyrics.

Religious leaders, Rabbi Jonathan Pearl from the Astoria Center of Israel, Father Anastasios Pourakis of St. Demetrios Cathedral and Father Wlad Kubrak of Mt. Carmel spoke of faith and the power of perseverance after such an awful calamity, and delivered messages of hope and faith to the families of fallen first responders in attendance.

Additional support for this special memorial event was provided by Hon. Peter Vallone Jr., Bear Glass, Paradise Pictures, Ken Honig (Port Authority Police Department), Kiwanis Club of Astoria/LIC, The Explorers and Graphic Marketing Group. Estelle Torino assisted as a judge for the essay contest

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