Ceremony, Remembrance Mark 10 Years Since Flight 587 Crash - NBC New York

Ceremony, Remembrance Mark 10 Years Since Flight 587 Crash

The crash in the Rockaways killed 260 people on board and five on the ground.



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    Hundreds of people gathered at a seaside memorial in Queens Saturday to remember the 265 people killed 10 years ago in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, just two months and a day after the 9/11 attacks.

    Flight 587 was headed to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and the crash hit hardest in the city's Dominican community.

    Saturday's ceremony echoed the ones held annually at ground zero, with leaders from the city's Dominican neighborhoods and a Monsignor from a nearby church opening the ceremony with reflection and prayer.

    The memorial is 15 blocks from the Belle Harbor crash site, in neighboring Rockaway Park.

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    Parts of the ceremony were conducted in Spanish, including a reading of a poem by Dominican writer Pedro Mir. A line from his poetry is inscribed at the top of the memorial. It reads, "Después no quiero más que paz," which translates to "Afterward, I want only peace."

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke, commending the strength felt by the family and friends of those who died in the crash.

    "Ten years have gone by, but as you know all too well, every day in the wake of tragedy is a day of remembrance -- a time for honor, and an occasion to find strength," he said.

    Rosa Perez Leonetti came to the memorial to remember her father, Jose Perez Sanchez, who was flying home that day to visit family. She was still mourning the death of her brother-in-law during the Sept. 11 attacks when the plane crashed.

    Her father used to enjoy coming out to the beach in Rockaway to watch the planes take off. 

    "Ten years later, it's still really difficult to come to terms with the worst," she said.

    At 9:15 a.m., a bell tolled and there was a moment of silence to mark the moment the plane went down. The names of the victims were read aloud by tearful relatives.

    Many of the residents on the Rockaway peninsula were still reeling from the loss of dozens of their own in the Sept. 11 attacks when their neighborhood became a crash site.