By 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, about 50 people hadaround the 9/11 memorial Osprey statue at in Peconic.
Many stood and looked to the metal bird in the sky, perched atop an I-beam from the World Trade Center, for a while. One left a picture of a lost family member and a written dedication to him. Others sat on the new brick facade surrounding the Osprey, reflecting on a horrifying attack that might be 11 years in the past but remains emotionally devastating for two generations of Americans.
As she left the memorial after placing her flag, member Danielle Meraz said that she still can't describe the emotions she feels even 11 years after the World Trade Center crumbled to dust and thousands of lives were lost in front of the eyes of the nation and the world on September 11, 2001.
"There still are no words — no one emotion can encompass the whole thing still," she said. "Sadness, anger, and yet the pride we felt, the unity we felt as a country back then — that's something I think we've lost in 11 years."
Meraz said she lost seven people she knew on 9/11 — lawyers she'd been working with who were helping her with immigration papers for her children. A month after the attacks, one of her daughters gave up a college scholarship to go into the military.
"I was mad, mad, mad at her at the time," she said. "But I understand when I think about how 9/11 really is the Pearl Harbor, the World War I, the World War II for two generations. It happened 11 years ago but it has not faded for any of us."
For Meraz, the quiet vigil of flag planting and reflection on the 11th anniversary seemed the right thing to do after what she described as the political hype surrounding the 10th anniversary last year.
Organizer Tracey Orlando said that it will be important for two generations of people to remember 9/11 — on the anniversary of the day or not.
"There's not a day I drive by that statue that there is not someone there, looking up at it," she said.