FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2007
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG SPEAKS AT FLIGHT 587 FIFTH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL DEDICATION
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's speech as prepared. Please check against delivery.
"Monsignor Brown, Reverend Beltre, my fellow New Yorkers: Buenos dias a todos. Six years ago this morning, 260 men, women, and children, passengers and crew, boarded Vuelo Cinco-ochenta y siete (Flight 587) at Kennedy Airport for a flight to Santo Domingo. They were filled with excitement about their trip; many were eagerly looking forward to seeing their native land, and their relatives and loved ones there. We know what tragedy befell them instead. And what happened as well to the five residents of Belle Harbor who also perished that terrible day.
"Once again, we have come together to remember all of them, and to share the sorrow that all of us feel. Today, our hearts are also made heavy by the devastation and suffering that Tropical Storm Noel has so recently visited on both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In fact, a number of elected officials who would normally be with us are, with good reason, in the Dominican Republic today, bringing assistance to Noel's victims.
"We know that our words here will also be heard by those who have lost homes and loved ones an ocean away. So we say: Nuestros corazones estan con ustedes. In Creole: Nou pense avec ou. And not only are our thoughts and prayers with you; we also pledge you our continued help.
"New York is a big-hearted city. We show that by aiding our neighbors in times of distress. We also show it by working together as we have here, to create this beautiful lasting memorial, which we dedicated last November 12th. Making it a reality was the product of long hours of work by people of many backgrounds throughout New York, especially the communities of Washington Heights and Belle Harbor.
"And over the past year, this memorial has become a destination for thousands of people who now come to this spot, often riding the 'A' train from Washington Heights here to its final stop in the Rockaways, to contemplate the eternal majesty and mystery of the ocean that Flight 587 was to cross. And to honor the memory of those who were lost in that tragedy. Above the doorway to the memorial are inscribed these eloquent words from the great Dominican poet Pedro Mir: 'Después no quiero más que paz', which in English means, 'Afterwards, I want only peace.'
"That truly is our prayer for all those whom we remember today: May their souls have found peace.
"Six years ago, members of our Police and Fire Departments, New York's Finest and Bravest, demonstrated tremendous bravery and dedication in responding to the tragedy of Flight 587. Today, Police Officer Joel Lapointe and Firefighter James Sorokac will help us pay tribute to those we lost. After they toll the bell, there will be a moment of silence.
"Now, Monsignor Brown will begin to read the names of those we remember today, and every day. He will be followed by family members of those who were lost, as well as by other clergy members. I want to thank the students of the I.S. 143 Ensemble for that moving performance. And I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this observance for their heartfelt contributions.
"Now, to conclude this ceremony, please join me as I walk to the memorial to pay my respects to the victims of the Flight 587 tragedy. May God grant them eternal peace, Y que Dios los bendiga."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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