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At Reeves Park, remembering the lives lost on 9/11

The Reeves Park community held its annual Sept. 11 memorial Friday, although it was a scaled back event due to concerns about COVID-19. 

The Sound Park Heights Civic Association, which holds the event in remembrance of two of its neighbors — Thomas Kelly and Jonathan Ielpi — who died on Sept. 11, 2001 while working for the FDNY and trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center.

“They demonstrated the greatest love of by laying down their lives for a friend,” said Tom O’Haire, the president of civic association. 

Bob Kelly, Thomas’s brother and a retired FDNY member himself, said that in the days and months following Sept. 11, “there were no black Americans or white Americans. There were no Republicans or Democrats.”

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He added, “People didn’t identify as a certain type of person, we were all Americans for a couple of months. I wish we could go back to that time.”

Anne Marie Ielpi, Jonathan’s sister, said: “I miss everything about him, however, I also know that deep in my heart, he died doing what he was always meant to do. He knew that one day, he might to make the supreme sacrifice, but he loved everything about being a firefighter and he put that thought aside.”

Flags placed at the memorial. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
Riverhead firefighters at Friday’s 9/11 ceremony. (Credit: Tim Gannon)