School Unveils WTC Memorial
School Unveils WTC Memorial School unveils WTC memorial
Monsignor Farrell High School dedicates granite monument to 23 alumni and eight friends lost in disaster
September 23, 2003
Like a postcard from a bygone era, a black granite memorial unveiled yesterday outside Monsignor Farrell High School offers a picture of the Manhattan skyline punctuated by the Twin Towers.
Sandblasted into the wall of remembrance, which is 5 and a half feet high and 9 feet wide, are the names of 23 alumni and eight friends of the Oakwood school who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks. Opposite the list, a lone sailboat maneuvers the Hudson River, with a backdrop of the World Trade Center and the familiar cityscape of downtown buildings.
"We wanted to make this special, dignified," said Brian Hall, a 1977 Farrell alumnus and owner of Joseph G. Hall & Sons, which donated the memorial erected outside the school gymnasium. He and fellow classmate and graduate Tom Cuffe, director of alumni relations and development and head track coach at Farrell, pored over more than 40 designs and pictures for the memorial. Many of the possibilities contained only the towers, which both men found to be too plain and stark. "You didn't get the perspective of what was there," said Hall before the brief ceremony began.
Deputy Borough President Daniel Donovan and Councilman Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore), both Farrell alumni, joined more than 100 family members who gathered in the school library before the unveiling to peruse through yearbooks containing photos of the fallen men.
Sitting with other parents, Arnold Roma found comfort in being at the school, he said. "I feel such a connection knowing that he studied here," said Roma, whose fire patrolman son, Keith, graduated from the school in 1992. "I'm so glad that the school did this. They're letting us know they won't forget," said Roma.
After an indoor service presided over by Cuffe and school principal the Rev. John Paddack, family members were escorted to the memorial.
One by one, names of the alumni were read, beginning with the oldest graduate, Frank Spinelli, class of 1974 and ending with Joseph Visciano, class of 1997. With the announcement of each name, a bell rang in memorium. As the final name was read, family members drew close to the memorial.
"It's beautiful," said one woman, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.
"WE KNEW WHEN FARRELL PUT SOMETHING UP IT WOULD BE THE BEST," SAID CHARLES MARGIOTTA, FATHER OF FIRE DEPARTMENT LT. CHARLES MARGIOTTA.
Diane O\'Donnell / Advance Staff Writer