LANSINGBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Community members put the finishing touches on Lansingburgh’s 9/11 Memorial Park to remember those who died in the attacks 15 years ago.
Lansingburgh’s 9/11 Memorial Park was completed on Friday. Some members of the community held a moment of silence to reflect on the lives lost, including one of their own.
“It was so sad when this happened, and then I learned it was John,” Peggy Kownack said.
John Reo’s memory has been carved in stone on the new 9/11 monument. The Troy native was one of thousands killed in the attack on the World Trade Center Towers in 2001.
Kownack knew Reo as a young boy when she worked in his high school cafeteria.
“He was always very polite, very courteous,” she said. “He loved cheeseburgers, so he was a regular in my cheeseburger line.”
Now, Kownack brings her grandson to the monument to teach him about Reo and all the other lives that were tragically lost.
“The first time he read this monument, he looked at me and said, ‘Gamma, I thought it was just a plane crash. I didn’t realize so many people died,’” Kownack recalled.
Keeping their memories alive is the meaning behind the memorial park. Community members worked hard to turn the once vacant eyesore into a place of tranquility.
“The park was a great big nothing in the beginning,” master gardener Betty Dinovo said. “It was just a very makeshift monument. It’s a great way for me to give back to the community.”
A moment of silence was held after the finishing touches were complete.
“A number of community folks stepped up to the plate,” Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello said. “It’s just an incredible, peaceful spot, as you can tell. It’s very special to us.”
It’s also where Kownack comes every September 11 to say hi to Reo.
“And I tell him I’ve got that extra cheeseburger set aside for him,” she said.
The city of Troy does not have any ceremonies planned for the weekend, but officials encourage people to come to the Memorial Park to have a quiet moment of reflection.