9/11 Memorial Services Endure Despite Pandemic

Fire chiefs salute at the East Hampton 9/11 Memorial in 2019.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, first responders and the public still plan to remember the lives lost in the September 11 terrorist attacks, albeit in smaller gatherings.

East Hampton Town

The East Hampton Town Chiefs Association, made up of fire chiefs from the departments that serve the town, will hold its annual 9/11 Memorial in the shadow of the Hook Mill in East Hampton Village on Friday at 6 p.m. Kevin O’Brien Jr., Sag Harbor Fire Department’s first assistant chief who serves as president of the organization, said fire, police and ambulance chiefs have been asked to limit the number of members they bring to three because of the pandemic. Usually there are at least a dozen from each department in attendance, dressed in their Class A uniforms on the solemn occasion. Executive orders in place due to the pandemic limit gatherings to no more than 50 people.

“It is a public park so I don’t think I can keep the public from coming,” O’Brien said. “We will ask that the public follows all COVID-19 precautions,” which include face coverings and social distancing.

Chiefs will place memorial wreaths following the shorter than usual service, led by a chaplain.


Fire Departments in Southampton Town are planning to blow their fire whistles to remember the pivotal moments on 9/11, such as when the Towers were hit by the hijacked planes.

Meanwhile, the Southampton Fire Department will gather Friday morning at the Hampton Road firehouse for a short ceremony between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. The department chaplains will speak, and a wreath will be placed at the 9/11 Memorial in front of the firehouse. The public is welcome to attend, but must wear a mask, Chief Anthony Stevens said.

North Sea

The North Sea Community Association will host its annual remembrance at the North Sea Community House, starting at 8:30 a.m.


A short service will be held at Memorial Park in Flanders, located off Flanders Road, at 6:30 p.m.  The Flanders Fire Department will conduct a short ceremony and set flowers at the monument. The public welcome to attend.


A 9/11 Survivor Tree Planting Ceremony will take place on the grounds of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office and jail in Riverside on Friday morning at 10 a.m. Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. and John Feal of the FealGood Foundation will plant a callery pear tree, which became known as the “Survivor Tree” after the attacks at the World Trade Center, in honor of men and women who lost their lives 19 years ago.

“Each year, the 9/11 Memorial gives seedlings from the Survivor Tree to three communities so they can nurture them for future generations as a symbol of survival and the triumph over tragedy,” the sheriff’s office said, after being selected this year.

Current and retired members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office who responded to the recovery effort at Ground Zero will be present for the ceremony. While the public cannot attend, the ceremony will be live streamed on Facebook Live.

Southold Town

The annual 9/11 ceremony at Cochran Park in Peconic will take place at 6:30 p.m. Hosted by the Southold Town Fire Chief’s Council, firefighters from the North Fork departments will take part in the ceremony by placing a wreath, saying a prayer and giving a salute.

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