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LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thousands on Saturday returned to Point Lookout where they watched the attacks on the Twin Towers unfold two decades ago.
When the towers were struck, stunned Long Islanders spontaneously gathered at the shore. They had a crystal-clear view of the unthinkable, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
They’ve returned to the beach every year for the last 20 years for a ceremony at sunrise to honor the lives lost.
Last year’s service was held in the parking lot to maintain social distancing. But this year, hundreds of mourners were back on the sand.
Gusoff said this year’s crowd was the largest she’s seen at the annual ceremony.
The memorial includes a Remembrance Wall for loved ones to write messages honoring the 497 Long Island residents who lost their lives.
After the service, mourners walk the shore and cast flowers into the ocean.
Many said it’s more difficult this year because so much time has passed without their loved ones.
“Sad and I think because it’s in the public, and you’re grieving with a nation, really, not just on your own. So that makes it difficult because, at this time of the year, there’s constant reminders of what happened and the visuals are very hard to see, knowing that you lost a loved one. It’s a very difficult time,” said Deanine Nagengast.
Complete Coverage: 9/11 Twenty Years Later
“9/11 was 20 years ago, but the loss that happened that day, it continues for everybody… the people who were there are still passing away,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin.
“We need to be a country of peace and love and harmony, and that we need to recognize the importance of all the people that serve our country and that do keep us safe. I think that we’ve lost that over time, I really do… Just because it’s been 20 years, it doesn’t mean that we should forget,” said Ashley Antonacci-Martini.
Many of the relatives of Nassau County’s 300 victims attended the service.
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