Wall honors Bravest of Sept. 11


The 115 firefighters assigned to firehouses in Brooklyn who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, will be permanently remembered in stone and metal.

An imposing 20-by-12-foot granite wall engraved with images of each of the firefighters has been installed at Keyspan Park in Coney Island.

"I spent 50 years of my life in Brooklyn, and I wanted to do something for those firefighters who went over the bridge on Sept. 11 and never returned," said businessman Sol Molgen, who conceived the idea for the memorial.

"You can go to any city and town in the United States, and you'll see a memorial to those who went to war and never came home," added Molgen, 63.

"I wanted to do something for the firefighters from Brooklyn."

Kept as a team

He said he hoped the memorial will help bring closure to the families.

"There were 343 firefighters killed on Sept. 11, but only 206 have been identified," said Molgen.

"Now, at least those families whose loved ones were never found will have a place to visit."

The images are placed on the wall according to their companies. "They went in as a team, and we kept them as a team," said Molgen.

With the help of Peter Kasten of New Hyde Park, L.I.-based U.S. Bronze Sign Co. and dozens of other volunteers, Molgen began raising more than $140,000 needed for the wall.

Molgen said the project had a special meaning for Kasten.

"Firefighter Chris Pickford, who was killed on Sept. 11, was Kasten's best friend when he was growing up," said Molgen.

Originally called the Ebbets Field Wall of Remembrance, the wall was to be dedicated last summer, but it hadn't received the needed approvals from the city's Parks Department and Art Commission.

Pols helped

"Councilmen Dominick Reccia and Bill de Blasio both appeared before the Art Commission," said Molgen. "I don't think two councilmen ever did that before. The support we've gotten for this project has been incredible."

On Sunday morning, families of the firefighters, volunteers, union officials, contributors, fire and elected officials will all gather at the memorial for a special viewing.

"We're going to have a formal dedication in the springtime, but we felt it was important to have a gathering now," explained Molgen.

"Father John Delendick and Rabbi Joseph Potasnick, the department chaplains, will be there. There will be candy canes for the children and people will sing carols. It should be a nice day."

Originally published on December 13, 2002


John Kelly of Uniformed Firefighters Association visits Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance.