2002-12-19 / Top Stories

Remembrance Wall For Brooklyn’s 9/11 Hero Firefighters Unveiled

Text and Photos By Neil S. Friedman

A lone firefighter thinks about his fallen brothers as he lingers at the Wall of Remembrance following last Sunday’s poignant dedication ceremony.A lone firefighter thinks about his fallen brothers as he lingers at the Wall of Remembrance following last Sunday’s poignant dedication ceremony.

Family members of Brooklyn firefighters who died in lower Manhattan rescue efforts following the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001, gathered in Coney Island Sunday afternoon to witness the unveiling of the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance honoring those heroes.

In addition to the families, hundreds of friends and guests, including a number of the borough’s elected representatives, were present for the poignant two-and-a-half-hour dedication ceremony of the 20-foot wide by 12-foot high memorial, which was draped in black and purple bunting, honoring the 115 firefighters from three dozen Brooklyn units. A last minute arrival was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who was warmly received by the throng before and after his stirring speech.

The memorial wall, located on the west side of KeySpan Park, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, contains a granite plaque with the name and photograph of each of the fallen firemen. The centerpiece of the wall is a 6-foot bronze statue, sculpted by Jamie Lester, of two Brooklyn firefighters, who survived, holding the helmet of a fallen brother who died when the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

A small bronze tablet at the bottom left of the wall reads: "This wall is dedicated to honoring the 115 fallen firefighters from Brooklyn firehouses who gave the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001."


Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave a stirring speech after he was warmly welcomed by the crowd at Sunday’s unveiling ceremony.Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave a stirring speech after he was warmly welcomed by the crowd at Sunday’s unveiling ceremony.

Of the 343 firefighters who died fifteen months ago, more than a third worked at Brooklyn firehouses. As the names on the wall were read aloud, fireman James M. Sorokac of the ceremonial unit clanged the Fire Department’s ceremonial bell for each firefighter. Sorokac said the bell is the same one used at a Ground Zero memorial observance held this year.

The ceremony was presided over by Fire Department Chaplain Joseph Potasnik. Among those present were Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senators Carl Kruger and Seymour Lachman, State Senator-elect Marty Golden; Assembly members Adele Cohen and Steve Cymbrowitz, City Council members, Mike Nelson, Bill DeBlasio, Dominic Recchia and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Jules Spiegel.

Sol Moglen, a former Canarsie resident, who now resides in Caldwell, New Jersey, and Peter Casten, a sales manager for a New Hyde Park, NY, sign company, who lost a childhood friend on 9/11/01, conceived the idea for the wall. Moglen said this was Casten’s way of honoring his friend.

Moglen told the Canarsie Courier that it took "about a year from conception to dedication" and the cost for the wall is more than $140,000, all of which is being raised through private contributions from businesses and individuals.


The six-foot bronze statue of two firefighters who survived the 9/11 rescue efforts is the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Remembrance Wall.The six-foot bronze statue of two firefighters who survived the 9/11 rescue efforts is the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Remembrance Wall.

There’s a faction trying to add to the wall the names and photographs of the firefighters who lived in Brooklyn but were working at firehouses in other boroughs when they died at the World Trade Center.

Moglen said anyone wishing to contribute to the fund should contact: Ebbets Field Wall of Remembrance Foundation, 2067 58 Street, Brooklyn, NY 11204.


Fireman James M. Sorokac (left) rang the NYFD’s ceremonial 9/11 bell as each of the 115 names on the wall were announced.Fireman James M. Sorokac (left) rang the NYFD’s ceremonial 9/11 bell as each of the 115 names on the wall were announced.These Coney Island firefighters were among the dozens of NYFD personnel who were on hand for Sunday’s dedication.These Coney Island firefighters were among the dozens of NYFD personnel who were on hand for Sunday’s dedication.

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