'We remember them this way:' Residents honor neighbors lost on 9/11 at 'The Rising' memorial in Valhalla

Residents from across Westchester are expected to remember those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 at "The Rising" memorial at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.

News 12 Staff

Sep 11, 2020, 9:59 AM

Updated 1,356 days ago


Residents from across Westchester remembered those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 at "The Rising" memorial at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.
The memorial, which was officially dedicated in 2006, has what's called the "Circle of Remembrance" that lists the names of all of the 111 Westchester residents who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks.
Some of the stones with the victim's names on them have inscriptions written by their families.
The spot and architecture of "The Rising," which was created by Frederick Schwartz, was decided on by family members of the victims.
"The families really are the centerpiece of the way that we have these celebrations to make sure that they know that we haven't forgotten their family's sacrifices," says County Executive George Latimer. "And for those that survived and those that died that day, whether civilian or first responders, they live with 9/11 every single day for the rest of their lives."
A 20-year-old woman showed up to the memorial to honor her father, Michael Lyons, who died during the attack when she was just a year old and two months before her sister was born.
"We come every year, we try to bring his memory alive every year," says Caitlyn Lyons. "It just never leaves our lives. It's just always there."
Caitlyn says her father, who was a member of the FDNY, was home on Sept. 11, but he went to Manhattan as soon as he got word of the attacks.
She says it is liberating to have such a hero to look up to, and she thinks about that every day.
People can walk inside the memorial and look up at the steel beams, which are 80 feet high and intertwined at the top.
Family and strangers traditionally place flowers by the names of neighbors who were killed on the anniversary.
One couple arrives every year before dawn and places flags and flowers on the names of every firefighter from Westchester.
"I think when you walk around the perimeter of it and you see the names, you see, I see the names of people I know," Latimer says. "A fellow I worked with, people in my hometown who were real live human beings to me and now we remember them this way."
The county is now working on a monument to remember residents who have died from Sept. 11-related illnesses they received from working at the site years later.
A virtual ceremony at Kensico Dam Plaza was held due to the ongoing pandemic.
Some individuals, including family members and clergy, will physically be at the site to read the names of the victims.
Many residents say it doesn't matter how the day is marked, as long as we never forget those who were lost during the attacks.

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