Mural painted at Railroad Museum in Riverhead as 9/11 tribute

09/11/2016 3:41 PM |

Members from the Amvets give the 21-gun salute.

A mural painted across two trains showing the New York City skyline both before and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 is the latest addition to the Railroad Museum of Long Island property in Riverhead.

The mural was painted over the past several days in preparation for a first-time event the museum hosted in honor of the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

About 70 people attended Sunday, paying tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the attacks and the first responders and others who sacrificed to lend a helping hand in the aftermath.

Don Fisher, the museum’s president, said a handful of the museum’s board members were at ground zero for a variety of reasons in the days after 9/11. He helped with communication efforts following the attacks.

“There’s a lot of emotional interest and emotional connection to the day by the board members of the museum,” Mr. Fisher said, noting that one former board member recently died of cancer believed to be connected to his time at ground zero.

Several artists, mostly from the New York City area, contributed to the mural, which was the idea of Patrick Voorhees, founder of the charity Miracles Every Day. Beams of light take the place of the World Trade Center in the part of the mural that shows the aftermath of 9/11. A large American flag  with a bald eagle and the words “Remember Me” and “Never Forget” are also depicted in the mural, along with the Statue of Liberty and the image of a fireman with an angel above him.

Mr. Voorhees, 41, an artist from Medford said the idea came about after he approached the museum about painting something patriotic. The event snowballed from there with several businesses, including Home Depot and Guitar Center, donating supplies.

“I kind of just rolled with the flow,” Mr. Voorhees said

Mr. Voorhees and others shared their personal experiences from Sept. 11, 2001 at the event, and there was a 21-gun salute from the Amvets Post 111 in Patchogue. Moments of silence were held during the minutes in which the planes hit the Twin Towers.

Mr. Fisher said the way people came together to contribute to the event reminded him in a way of how the country came together in the year after 9/11 to help each other out.

“We have to work together, help each other and do good things going forward,” he said. “That’s what this [event] embodies.”

Riverhead Town Board members Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy were among those in attendance Saturday.

Ms. Giglio called it “brilliant” that the trains are able to be turned into a memorial. Mr. Dunleavy said “we have to remember [those who died].”

Artist Enrique Torres, who contributed to the mural, said the event was a “worthy cause.”

“It’s something that you can’t forget,” he said.

The finished mural will remain painted on the trains for people to visit and admire. Mr. Voorhees said he hopes the event can become an annual tradition.

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Members of the Amvets prepare for the 21-gun salute

Members of the Amvets prepare for the 21-gun salute

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Artist Enrique Torres points out the work he did on Saturday.

Artist Enrique Torres points out the work he did on Saturday.

Artist Wore works on an American flag on one of the trains.

Artist Wore works on an American flag on one of the trains.

The artists at work during the morning.

The artists at work during the morning.

17-year-old Chelsea Plank from Stony Brook sings the "Star-Spangled Banner."

17-year-old Chelsea Plank from Stony Brook sings the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Artists Wore, Kenji (Python), Meres and See TF pose with John Dunleavy.

Artists Wore, Kenji (Python), Meres and See TF pose with Councilman John Dunleavy.

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Councilman John Dunleavy speaks at the event with councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

Councilman John Dunleavy speaks at the event with councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

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Amanda-Camille Isaac sings "God Bless America."

Amanda-Camille Isaac sings “God Bless America.”

Patrick Voorees adresses the crowd.

Patrick Voorhees adresses the crowd.

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