‘Best Dad Ever’

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The Thomas Langone memorial plaque at Roslyn Rescue
The Thomas Langone memorial plaque at Roslyn Rescue

Remembering 9/11, 15 years later

For many local residents, memorializing Long Island’s victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 goes beyond solemnly reading the names of those lost. At gatherings throughout the towns of Oyster Bay, Hempstead and North Hempstead, officials and citizens alike will acknowledge the shared experience of living on the island and losing loved ones to senseless hatred.

This personal nature is what town officials believe sets Long Island’s remembrance ceremonies apart.

In the Town of North Hempstead, a memorial service will be held at Mary Jane Davies Green on Plandome Road on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 8 a.m. Supervisor Judi Bosworth said to mark the 15th anniversary, the town will do as it has always done and gather to respectfully honor and remember the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in New York, in Washington, D.C., and over the skies of Pennsylvania.

“Among those victims were 56 members of our own community here in North Hempstead who were our neighbors, friends, coworkers and beloved family members,” she said. “They have not been forgotten.”

For the Roslyn area, the day is always a melancholy one. Eight people from Roslyn—William Chalcoff, Brett Owen Freiman, Robert Hussa, Joseph Maio, Arlene Fried, Michael Haub, Peter Langone, Thomas Langone and Marcus Neblett—perished on that day.

All of the losses were traumatic, including Peter Langone and his brother, Thomas, both of whom served, respectively, on the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department. Peter and Tommy’s father was also a member of the FDNY. The Langone funeral was attended by then-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who gave a moving eulogy. Why? Well, in 1994, when Oklahoma City suffered its own terrorist attack, Tom Langone traveled all the way from New York to Oklahoma to assist in the rescue operations. And that’s exactly the kind of person he was.

Caitin Langone as a tribute guide
Caitin Langone as a tribute guide

Michael Haub, too, was a member of the NYFD. The Village of East Hills remembers Arlene Fried with a park area and bench, while the names of the Langones are emblazoned on a plaque at Roslyn Rescue Fire Department headquarters on Mineola Avenue.

All the stories from September 11, 2001 and those that came afterwards are courageous. One of the most moving is that of Caitlin Langone, Tom Langone’s daughter. Today, Caitlin works as an actress. Over the years, she has also volunteered her time as a tribute guide at Ground Zero, telling the story of heroism of that day to tourists from all over the United States and the world. In 2013, Caitlin was the subject of a news story on Channel 12. Three years later, Roslyn Rescue keeps a video of that interview on its website, www.roslynrescue.org. It is a video that no one should miss.

During the interview, which shows Caitlin walking visitors around the site, the Roslyn Heights native remembers her father. “I love to share stories of my daddy,” she said. “He was like Superman. He was really tall and invincible and super smart.” Visitors tell how moved they were by Caitlin’s story.

Caitlin admits to the sense of loss and pain, but she firmly contends that her father was “the best dad ever,” a claim that no one in Roslyn would ever disagree with.

—Steve Mosco contributed to this article

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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