Reeves Park community honors the victims of Sept. 11

09/12/2014 10:18 AM |
Patrick O'Neill plays the bagpipe during Thursday night's memorial at Reeves Park. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Patrick O’Neill plays the bagpipe during Thursday night’s memorial at Reeves Park. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Reeves Park community turned out in force Thursday to pay respects to those who gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, when attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a jet airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania took almost 3,000 lives, including two from Reeves Park. 

The annual memorial service, in which residents march down Park Road to the 9/11 memorial constructed at the corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue, has been held since 2010.

“This memorial is intended to honor all those that were affected by the events 13 years ago today,” said Amanda Fermature, the vice president of the Sound Park Heights Civic Association, which organizes the event.

Park Road was named after Lt. Thomas Kelly a few years back. He was one of the Reeves Park residents who died on Sept. 11 while responding to the Twin Towers as a member of the Fire Department of New York.

The other was FDNY member Jonathan Ielpi, whose family had a summer home in Reeves Park.

The Riverhead Fire Department hangs the American flag. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Fire Department hoists the American flag. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

His mother, Anne Ielpi, said she is now a full time Reeves Park resident, and this was the first time she attended the annual memorial service.

“I think it’s amazing,” she said afterward. “I’m very touched by it and overwhelmed by all the people that showed up. It’s a very tight-knit community.”

Her son, Jonathan, had been in the FDNY for about five years in 2001 and had been a police officer before that.

“He was stationed at Squad 288 in Queens,” Ms. Ielpi said. “They lost 19 guys from his firehouse that day. I always say, and we have it on his prayer card, he loved what he did. All he ever wanted to do since he was a little kid was to be a fireman.”

For the Kelly family, this was the first time they attended the annual Sept. 11 memorial without Thomas’ parents, Emmet and Sue, both of whom died within two months of last year’s memorial.

Thomas Kelly’s brother, Bob, also was a FDNY member who served on Sept. 11. His brother Jim was a New York Police Department officer who worked that day. The family traditionally visits Thomas Kelly’s firehouse in Brooklyn for a memorial there, and then comes back to Riverhead for the Reeves Park memorial. This year, they did so without their parents.

“This whole day has been very weird,” Bob Kelly said. “It just feels very strange going to the firehouse without them.”

In addition to the march down Park Road, the memorial also featured a presentation from the Riverhead Fire Department, which hoisted a giant flag from one of its ladder trucks, bagpipe playing by Patrick O’Neill, and a presentation by the local Boy Scouts.

“This day will forever mark a time in history that made us stronger as a nation and as a community,” Ms. Fermature said.

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The Riverhead Fire Department marches down Park Road, with Wading River scouts behind them, at the Reeves Park memorial. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Fire Department marches down Park Road, with Wading River scouts behind them, at the Reeves Park memorial. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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