A few sobs and the hum of Manhattan traffic are the only sounds Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Lt. Troy Dichard expects to hear Wednesday morning when he stands silent at the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“All 343 names of the firefighters who were killed will be announced,” said Dichard, 28, a West Palm Beach resident. “They pause for a moment of silence to mark the times each tower fell. It’s so quiet, you forget you are in a big city.”
Dichard and Tony Faso, a Boca Raton lieutenant with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, are representing Palm Beach County firefighters Wednesday at the ceremony at Riverside Park in the lower east side.
“There is a brotherhood among firefighters. We want to be there,” Faso said.
In Palm Beach County, residents have different plans to mark the day. Some will pay homage at local 9/11 memorials. Others plan a more personal time.
Ira and Laura Lassman will stay in their Eastpointe Country Club neighborhood to mark the death of their 28-year-old son Nicholas, who was killed in the north World Trade Center tower where he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. They and their daughter Ellen will gather around a tree the community near Palm Beach Gardens planted a decade ago to mark the attacks.
“I’ll think about how we’ll never watch him walk down the wedding aisle. How much I miss going to baseball and football games with him,” said Ira Lassman, 75.
Mike Falabella, a roofer who lives in Greenacres, made his first visit to Wellington’s Patriot memorial on a recent afternoon. He said he’ll spend today remembering the victims whose names are etched in the glass panels around the fountain.
“I have the same feeling I get when I go to my mother’s grave. It’s scary. It’s eerie. But I’m glad I’m here,” said Falabella, 50, as he looked at the eternal flame in the middle of the memorial’s fountain. Two steel panels that were between the 69th and 71st floors of the WTC south tower reach at a 45-degree angle toward the sky.
Vietnam veteran Jim Humpage plans to spend today at Tequesta’s annual memorial service next to village hall. The village memorial is two 6-foot beams from the WTC lying horizontally on polished granite pedestals above a reflective pool.
“We remember the police and firefighters, and everyone who gave their all that day,” said Humpage, 70, who served in the Air Force.
The county’s memorials to 9/11 might vary is size, but not in spirit, say those who visit them.
Juno Beach’s memorial, set to be dedicated Dec. 6, will have four silver birds flying through a heart of mirrored stainless steel. There will be no pieces of the WTC at the 12-foot-high and 5-foot-wide memorial to be set on a shady, grassy area on Ocean Drive just north of Town Hall.
That’s far different from the Palm Beach Gardens memorial that reaches 35 feet high. The orangeish 10-ton column from the World Trade Center’s south tower, twisted from the searing heat, stands in front of Fire Station 3 on Northlake Boulevard.
“The Gardens memorial reflects the horror of all that DNA blown out into the universe. The Juno Beach memorial is a place for reflection and healing. We need both places,” said Mark Fuller, a West Palm Beach artist and New York City native who designed both memorials.
The WTC artifacts at the memorials are controlled by The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which built and owned the World Trade Center. The authority decides which government agencies and nonprofit organizations get the artifacts.
“Very sentimental and frightening” is how Tequesta Police Sgt. David Cooper described his visit to the Port Authority airplane hanger where 9/11 artifacts are stored. He remembers everything from crushed fire trucks to a piece of paper scrawled by a child that read: “I hope you’re OK Daddy.”
“I often see people sitting here,” said Cooper, 40, reaching out to touch one of the WTC beams at the village memorial he and other officers helped bring back to Tequesta. “It brings home the reality of 9/11 without the horror.”
Ira Lassman visits the Palm Beach Gardens memorial about eight times a year. He stops on birthdays, maybe a holiday. He’ll visit during the U.S. Open, and remember playing golf with his son Nicholas. He’ll run his finger across his son’s name carved in one of the eight glass panels listing all those who died.
“I leave my thoughts,” Lassman said.
Staff writers Willie Howard, Kevin Thompson, Ana M. Valdes and staff researcher Niels Heimeriks contributed to this story.
Palm Beach Gardens — Two 36-foot-tall WTC columns, eight glass panels etched with the names of about 3,000 victims. $140,000 paid for by donations and the city’s Art in Public Places fund. (5161 Northlake Blvd., Fire Station 3)
Wellington — Glass wall etched with the victims’ names, a fountain, eternal flame and a 35-foot column from the south tower. The cost was about $485,000, with about $124,000 from donations. The village paid the rest. (2198 Forest Hill Blvd.)
Tequesta - Two beams resting on polished granite above a reflecting pool. Village paid $3,500 to send two village firefighters to New York City to bring the steel beams to Tequesta. Installation and rest of costs raised privately and services were donated. (Village Hall, 345 Tequesta Drive)
Boynton Beach — One 4-foot granite slab along with a 40-pound, 12-by-14 inch piece of steel from the World Trade Center. Donations are raising $6,250. (411 N. Federal Highway.) The city also has a WTC girder that is on display in the second-floor lobby of Fire-Rescue headquarters. The memorial was built with 300 hours of donated work and about $1,000 in donated materials. (2080 High Ridge Road)
Juno Beach — No WTC artifacts. Four silver birds flying through a heart of mirrored stainless steel. The $57,000 was privately raised. Dedication planned Dec. 6. (Next to town hall, 340 Ocean Drive)
Royal Palm Beach — No WTC artifacts. Three statues: a police officer, firefighter and paramedic standing in a circle with the firefighter holding an infant. (1036 Royal Palm Beach Blvd.)