2018-09-12 / Features

Honoring Their Sacrifice

BY JASON D. ANTOS


Photo Jason D. Antos Ret. Police Officer Timmy Motto. Photo Jason D. Antos Ret. Police Officer Timmy Motto. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, St. Michael’s Cemetery has been honoring those who sacrificed their lives in what is the nation’s worst terrorist attack resulting in more than 3,000 killed, both during the attack and in the years following, from health issues.

For the second consecutive year, on Saturday, September 8, St. Michael’s featured the 9/11-themed essay contest in which students from area public schools wrote essays on the topic, “What does it mean to be an American?”

The essay contest was 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 the elementary school winners who received $200 each: PS 84’s Aleksandra Pawlowski, PS 85’s Alessandra Poso, PS 122E’s Allyson Jimenez, PS 166’s William McKernan. middle school winners who received $300 each: IS 10’s Redwan Rahman, 122 Academy’s Munshi Nadim, IS 141’s Demetrios Giannopoulos, and IS 227’s Riley Hill; and the following Grand Prize winners, Academy of American Studies’ Szymon Baldyea and Long Island City High School’s Emiliano Carrizosa.


Tony Barsamian; NYCB Vice President Gus Papadimas; Al Santora, the essay Grand Prize winners, Long Island City High School’s Emiliano Carrizosa and Academy of American Studies’ Szymon Baldyea; Maureen Santora; and St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn. 
Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian; NYCB Vice President Gus Papadimas; Al Santora, the essay Grand Prize winners, Long Island City High School’s Emiliano Carrizosa and Academy of American Studies’ Szymon Baldyea; Maureen Santora; and St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn. Queens Gazette Publisher Master of Ceremonies and Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian led the memorial along with St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn, co-coordinator of the event.

Also in attendance were Al and Maureen Santora, parents of Christopher Santora, the youngest FDNY member to be killed on September 11th, as well as Ret. Police Officer Timmy Motto and Port Authority of NY and NJ Police Ret. Inspector Ken Honig.


Attendees of the St. Michael’s Cemetery September 11 commemoration saluted the flag. Attendees of the St. Michael’s Cemetery September 11 commemoration saluted the flag. The gathering was entertained by Daniel Siford who sang the National Anthem and the original pieces written by Hank Fellows, “Halfway To Heaven,” “The Spirit of America,” and “Take My Hand.”

Refreshments and snacks were served at the conclusion of the event, provided by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 69, Levittown.

Religious leaders, Rabbi Jonathan Pearl from the Astoria Center of Israel and Father Anastasios Pourakis of St. Demetrios Cathedral 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.


Religious leader Rabbi Jonathan Pearl from the Astoria Center of Israel spoke as Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian looks on. Religious leader Rabbi Jonathan Pearl from the Astoria Center of Israel spoke as Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian looks on. This year marks the second time that the essay contest was held. Previous memorial events held at St. Michael’s included the Remember Me Run, in which participants ran a two-mile lap around the cemetery grounds in honor of those who lost their lives on that fateful day at the World Trade Center and from an array of illnesses in the years that followed from working at the site, which became known as The Pile.

NYCB Vice President Gus Papadimas represented the bank and presented the award to the two grand prize winners.



Daniel Siford sang the National Anthem and the following original pieces written by Hank Fellows: “Halfway To Heaven,” “The Spirit of America,” “Take My Hand.” 
Photos Jason D. Antos Daniel Siford sang the National Anthem and the following original pieces written by Hank Fellows: “Halfway To Heaven,” “The Spirit of America,” “Take My Hand.” Photos Jason D. Antos

L to r.); Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian; Al Santora; three of the elementary school essay winners: PS 84’s Aleksandra Pawlowski, PS 85’s Alessandra Poso, and PS 122E’s Allyson Jimenez; Maureen Santora; and St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn. L to r.); Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian; Al Santora; three of the elementary school essay winners: PS 84’s Aleksandra Pawlowski, PS 85’s Alessandra Poso, and PS 122E’s Allyson Jimenez; Maureen Santora; and St. Michael’s Cemetery Director of Community Relations Ed Horn.

(L. to r.); Al Santora; three of the four middle school winners: IS 10’s Redwan Rahman, 122 Academy’s Munshi Nadim, IS 141’s Demetrios Giannopoulos, and IS 227’s Riley Hill; and Maureen Santora. (L. to r.); Al Santora; three of the four middle school winners: IS 10’s Redwan Rahman, 122 Academy’s Munshi Nadim, IS 141’s Demetrios Giannopoulos, and IS 227’s Riley Hill; and Maureen Santora.

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