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North Castle Observes 9/11

Setember 12, 2016
At the gazebo in Wampus Brook Park, the community remembered those who had fallen on September 11, 2001. The horrid memories of where we were, what we saw and how we felt 15 years ago remain vivid. North Castle’s observance of 9/11 is intended to make sure that nobody ever forgets what happened, said Supervisor Michael Schiliro, who spoke to a crowd of over one hundred people.

Schiliro said he is often asked, “For how long or how many times are we going to have a ceremony for 9/11?” He responds, “It should never end. It should exist forever because you can never forget those who fell that day, and all of us had somebody who we remember closely.” He added, but it gives us a stern reminder, as Reverend Chittenden so aptly said, to never forget those who continue to protect us every day, whether on our front lines overseas, or in the U.S. on a daily basis.

Many members from all three of North Castle’s volunteer fire departments were present. Armonk Fire Chief Carlos Cano said, “As the supervisor said, it’s something you don’t want to forget, but for us, we always run into the danger zone as everybody else is running from danger. Part of our job is to get them to safety.”

“I remember the day distinctly, said North Castle Police Chief, Peter Simonsen. “I was off duty at the time, and was watching the events on TV as they unfolded. Figuring out quickly what was going on, the feeling of vulnerability and fear was a part of everybody’s thoughts. A bunch of us were there to help out in whatever way we could. We went [downtown] in 12-hour shifts for many cycles around the clock. There was perpetual hope that you would find somebody alive, but it never came.” He concluded, “You try to set the memories aside because it was so unpleasant, but at the same time to honor those that were lost, you spend some time thinking about them.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey spoke of the firefighters and police officers who were so selfless when they responded on 9/11. She reminded us that the best way to be thankful, although it took us so long, is to provide them with the medical care needed because of the toxic waste from the days they spent responding in search of any survivors.

A silent prayer was given for the thousands of people who died that day. Deputy Supervisor Stephen D’Angelo read the names of the six North Castle residents who perished. Their names remain on the 9/11 memorial where a wreath was laid by the Green Acres Garden Club in their honor: Peter Alderman, Mark Brisman, George Morell, Marni O’Doherty, Thomas Palazzo, and Joanne Weil.  

The tradition of “Ringing of the Bell” for three sets of five times signifies that the fallen firefighting brothers have come home for the final time.

In the closing prayer, Reverend Chittenden of St. Stephen’s Church, quoted Father Michael Judge, a chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, who lost his life in the World Trade Center attacks. At a service preached for firefighters on September 10, 2001, Father Judge said, “You get on that rig, you go out and do the job, no matter how big the call, no matter how small....”  
Watch highlights of the 9/11 service here:





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Sept 11 Memorial Service Armonk, North Castle
North Castle Observes 9/11

The Town of North Castle will hold a 9/11 Memorial Service on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. in Wampus Brook Park, Maple Ave., Armonk.

A reception will immediately follow at St. Stephen's Church, Armonk.

Hall Schaller's monument that stands in Wampus Brook Park reads: "The residents of North Castle dedicate this memorial to their friends and neighbors who perished in the attacks on America at the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001


"Peter Alderman
Mark Brisman
George Morell
Marni O’Doherty
Thomas Palazzo
Joanne Weil"

“Brothers Lost: Stories of 9/11” is a documentary film about September 11, 2001 directed Sean McGinly. Prior to the town's observance at Wampus Brook Park, the film will be shown from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Armonk Library's Whippoorwill Hall at one Kent Place.

The documentary film reveals the grief of 31 men who lost their brothers in the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. McKinley, an award-winning filmmaker, lost his own brother Mark on that day. Three years later, the interviews with other men revealed the bonds of brotherhood. The stories helped some of them deal with the world-shattering event and their sense of loss. 


Hal Schaller
Hal Schaller
By Alice Levine

Republished September 2, 2016
Many of us have visited Wampus Brook Park and taken a walk or enjoyed a picnic lunch near the duck pond. Close to the gazebo in the park is a monument honoring our residents who were victims of 9/11; North Castle’s own Harold (Hal) Schaller, who was responsible for designing mausoleums for members of families such as those of Barbra Streisand, Lou Gehrig and Duke Ellington, designed this simple, poignant monument. This year marked the 15th year anniversary of 9/11, as well as Hal’s monument in Wampus Brook Park.

Schaller was an architect by training, and worked as a draftsman for H.K. Peacock, a memorial company, which he eventually acquired. His career was interrupted by World War II, yet his wartime experience was also accomplished. He worked for the United States Intelligence Services in London, where he prepared maps of enemy territories. He shipped out on a Navy LST, a large landing craft that carries troops and tanks. From the ship at Normandy, he watched the horrific slaughter of many soldiers that they had transported, yet Schaller and the ship’s captain refused to give up. Schaller decided the ship was insufficiently armored. By scrounging up enough steel, he designed and built armor plating over the most vulnerable part of the ship. Fortunately, the ship made it through.

This experience helped foster his desire to honor loved ones in a special way, namely through monuments and mausoleums. After the war, Schaller expanded the Peacock Memorial business and worked with many legendary Americans. Yet he was always humble and believed that Peacock Memorial was a meaningful way to help people during their time of grieving. His work includes public commemorative monuments, such as those honoring Korean War veterans in Columbia, South Carolina and the Armored Division in Washington, D.C. at the gates of Arlington Cemetery.

The North Castle Historical Society is very grateful to Schaller for donating drawings of some of North Castle’s most historic buildings. The drawings were reproduced in a calendar, which was sold in 1986 by the Historical Society. More recently, he donated a framed painting of the 1798 Quaker Meeting House. His wonderful drawing of Smith’s Tavern graces the note paper of the North Castle Historical Society.

Today, Schaller's son-in-law, Halsey Tuttill, continues the Peacock Memorial business. He has fond memories of his father-in-law, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 90. Tuttill said, “Hal put his heart and soul into every project he took on. It was more than just work to him; it was an expression of his compassion and creativity.” Tuttill particularly remembers Schaller’s work on the monument on Memorial Drive, the road leading to Arlington National Cemetery. He concluded, “Hal was truly an artist. The project took him over two years, but he enjoyed every moment. He left his mark.”


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09/11/15 Memorial Service

The 9/11 ceremony reminds us of those who perished on this day 14 years ago. The names  of North Castle residents who appear on Hal Schaller’s monument in Wampus Brook Park were read:

Peter Alderman
Mark Brisman
George Morell
Marni O’Doherty
Thomas Palazzo
Joanne Weil

Many brave first responders went out on the call on 9/11/01 and headed to the World Trade Center. Whether yesterday, today and again tomorrow, first responders continue to go out on the call. The members of North Castle’s three fire districts and police officers attended the ceremony as a cohesive group who work together daily.

The ceremonial bell was struck three times in a rapid sequence of three five-bell strikes. The bell ringing is a tradition of over 150 years that honors departed firefighters and rescuers. It’s the signal to firefighters to come home. The five-bell tolls have been extended as a tradition throughout the country’s 9/11 ceremonies in memory of the thousands of people who perished during the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, as well as the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania of Flight 93 that same morning. The towers have been replaced with the Freedom Tower, fittingly America’s tallest building at 1776 feet.

Police Chief Peter Simonsen remembered the day in 2001 when a group of North Castle police officers went to the scene in 12-hour shifts for three days that followed 9/11. “Circumstances were surreal as soon as we started down to the city,” he said. “When we got out of Westchester we knew immediately that something was different because the road tolls were unmanned. As we traveled further south people along the side of the road were handing out beverages and food, and cheering as they were happy to see us coming.”

To see New York City vacant was surreal, he said as he recollected arriving at the staging area near the Jacob Javits Center. Fifteen to eighteen North Castle officers, most of whom are retired now, went in five different shifts. As they headed toward Ground Zero, they saw devastation. “One of the things I recall,” said Simonsen, “was coming upon firemen who were sitting in absolute exhaustion. They were devoid of emotion, in an extreme state of despair and sorrow about the event and the loss of their brothers. They watched as we arrived. We felt their sorrow and saw how horrible they felt from their accurate assessment that there was nothing to be done.”

Kelly Scagges, the wife of Reverend Neil Chittenden of St. Stephens’ Church who offered the opening and closing prayers, lived in North Carolina at the time of 9/11. “Being here now and experiencing 9/11 is a much more real experience than in other parts of the country where people weren’t as directly affected,” she said. There were people in St. Stephen’s Church who were downtown in 2001. “There’s a real grief for those people who lost loved ones and friends.”

Trina Fontaine is a member of St. Stephen’s. She worked in the financial service industry in the New York’s financial center from 1991 to 2001. She was downtown on 9/11 when the traumatic event happened. She remembers seeing wounded people and the noise from the sirens. The event changed the trajectory of her life, she said. As a young mother, she quit her job shortly afterward. “I realized I didn’t care much about equity markets.” She now works in the not-for-profit sector. She recently visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City for the first time. She said she spent six hours there. “Maybe I was suppressing something. I felt as if I was ready to go and face it. It was hard.”

“As we came closer to the site,” Chief Simonsen said, “there was significant wreckage of fire apparatus, police vehicles, passenger cars, and dust everywhere. We attempted to find lives, desperately searching for any survivors. We assisted with attempting to move material through the night in an effort to find people who might have been trapped.”

Today, the men and women of the police force talk about events that arise which remind them to be vigilant, said Simonsen. “The world has changed. What we monitor has changed. Prior to that point we were innocent. From our parents’ recollection, aside from Pearl Harbor, things like that had never occurred in the U.S. before, certainly not in the continental U.S. The event changed us all emotionally with respect to our safety and vulnerability.”

The responsibility of future generations to never forget the terrorist attack upon our own country lies with our youth, some of whom attended the North Castle memorial service. Twelve-year olds Charlie Simonsen, the Police Chief’s son, and his friend, Scott Weinstein, said they understand what happened. “Today is remembering all of the people who died in the towers,” said Charlie. “Everyone who helped out selfishly and risked their lives.”

“Today at school,” said Scott, “the Governor asked that we take a moment of silence to honor this day and have remembrance of the people that we lost.”

“I commend Supervisor Michael Schiliro and the Town Board for continuing to find significance and importance to continue the memorial service,” concluded Simonsen.

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North Castle 9/11 Tribute

September 12, 2014
In a solemn and brief service early Thursday evening, the North Castle police members, first responders, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, Town Board members, residents, and neighbors gathered at the 9/11 memorial monument located in Wampus Brook Park.

The monument reads, “The residents of North Castle dedicated a memorial to their families and neighbors who perished in the attacks on America at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.” As is done every year following the horrific event, the carved names of the victims of the North Castle residents who perished 13 years ago were read: Peter Alderman, Mark Brisman, George Morell, Marni O’Doherty, Thomas Palazzo and Joanne Weil.”

Pastor Matt Turner of Hillside Church opened the ceremony in prayer of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The memory of our friends, family and loved ones may be painful, Pastor Turner says, but at times, it may bring sweet memories in hope to restore the future.

The ceremonial bell was struck three fives; it is in the rapid sequence of three five-bell strikes. The bell ringing is a tradition of over 150 years that honors departed firefighters and rescuers; it is the signal to firefighters to come home. The five-bell tolls have been extended as a tradition throughout the country’s 9/11 ceremonies in memory of the thousands of people who perished during the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, as well as the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania of Flight 93 that same morning. The towers have been replaced with the Freedom Tower, fittingly America’s tallest building at 1776 feet.

Behind North Castles’ volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians, police officers, and color guards, the sun was glaring through the turning trees and a large American flag was flown at half-mast from the top of a fire engine ladder, further showing respect and honor to every man and woman who had fallen that day.

Members of the Green Acres Garden Club laid a wreath of fresh flowers further symbolizing the beautiful memories of our fallen neighbors.

Supervisor Michael Schiliro reminded us to never forget, and in silent prayer, the thought of "never again" came to mind.


North Castle Honors Those Fallen at 9/11 Memorial Service

September 16, 2013
In honor of the victims of 9/11, dozens of people attended the Town of North Castle's September 11 memorial service in Wampus Brook Park.

Father Jeffrey Galens, Pastor of the Church of St. Patrick in Armonk, asked for our prays to be heard as we all prayed for justice, healing, protection and peace for all who died on 9/11. "Protect those men and women who protect our country and keep them safe, especially those in harm’s way. Amen.”

Supervisor Howard Arden commented that we gather to honor our neighbors who perished that day and to thank the brave first responders who sacrificed their own lives to help others. Arden recognized guests of the service, which included the Armonk Fire Department; North Castle Police Chief; American Legion Post 1097; Civil Air Patrol 238; Town Board members, as well our county legislator, assemblyman, and a representative from our congresswoman's office.

Colonel Johnni Pantenellie read the names of our neighbors who had fallen and asked that they be remembered in our prays: Peter Alderman, Mark Brisman, George Morell, Marni O'Doherty, Thomas Palazzo, and Joanne Weil.

Members of the Green Acres Garden Club laid a wreath on the monument designed by Hal Schaller.

The monument's inscription reads, "The residents of North Castle dedicate this memorial to their friends and neighbors who perished in the attacks on America at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001."

Stan Simon

“Brothers Lost - Stories of 9-11”

September 12, 2016
The documentary shown at the Armonk Library on September 11 was produced and directed by filmmaker Sean McGinly. “Brothers Lost - Stories of 9-11” is about 31 men who lost their brothers in the attacks on the World Trade Center. “Every day is September 11,” said one brother.

McGinly, who lost his brother Mark, made this film as a tribute to the many who were lost and as a way for other brothers to deal with their continued sense of loss.

The stories of growing up together, how the lost brothers came back in dreams, and about a void that’s too big to fill. Covered in ash, one brother arrived on the scene on his motorcycle looking for his brother only to then watch the towers collapse.

Another brother said, “I couldn’t get to him, I couldn’t do it, that was it.” Others felt helpless because they couldn’t be there.

The stories were similar, despite the differences, said one brother, but “We are better men because of them.”

Stan Simon, a 39-year resident of Armonk, was one of the 31 brothers who was interviewed for the documentary. Prior to the library showing of “Brothers Lost - Stories of 9-11”, Simon spoke to the audience. He said, “On that day, my life, and that of my family’s, changed forever. My brother, Arthur Simon, and my nephew, Ken Simon, Arthur’s son, died when a plane controlled by terrorists crashed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.”

The brothers spoke of the before, during, and the aftermath of grief and hope of their brothers lost. One Jewish man described throwing dirt at his brother’s coffin during the burial and said, “I fell to the ground.”

The stories don’t tell a pretty picture. The brothers know they have to move on. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it, I’m trying to, it hasn’t been easy,” said Simon in the 2002 film interview from his home.

After the movie ended, Susan Geffen, long-time Armonk resident said, “It was an end of innocence for all of us.”

In addition to the film, the Armonk library has the book, “Portrait of 9/11/01”, which is a compilation of the victims’ profiles that appeared daily in the New York Times a few weeks after the tragedy.