The Commack school district and community's efforts to commemorate the fallen heros of Sept. 11 is nearly complete after months of hard work.
Commack school officials announced at their Thursday board meeting that the 9/11 memorial is nearing completion at Commack High School. The memorial will be unveiled following the district's annual candlelight ceremony on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m.
Debbie Virga, who has overseen the organization and building of the memorial, said the pieces have finally come together over the summer and only a few minor details of the 9/11 memorial remain unfinished.
"The other night while I was checking on the lighting... I saw a woman with her 6-year-old daughter, explaining to her daughter why it was being built. In watching this mother and child, I knew the vision we had was complete," Virga said.
A central focus of Commack's 9/11 memorial will be a piece of steel the district received from the fallen World Trade Towers.
"The receiving of that piece of steel from the towers was not happenstance. We were recognized for all the hard work and effort we put in over the past decade of putting together that 9/11 service and bringing the community together," said Mary Joe Masciello, the Board of Education president.
Commack School District is one of a few districts to actually receive a piece of World Trade Center steel, more often pieces have gone to township or counties for memorials, according to Masciello.
"When they looked at a list of what Commack as a community does, they thought that's what qualified us," the board of education president said. "We were part of something that has lasted for 10 plus years."
The finished memorial will have the names of Commack residents and district alumni who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Gappsi, a Smithtown-based custom landscaping, masonry and natural stone workers, volunteered the materials and labor to build the memorial. Paving stones with the names of Commack residents and non-profit organizations will make the pathway that leads around the memorial.
"It's truly amazing, it's a work of art. It's something to behold and it belongs to Commack," Virga said.