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First Responders Share Memories of Sept. 11

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Captain John Caparelli had to take a deep breath after mentioning his cousin Joseph Masceli, who lost his life responding to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Caparelli, of the Larchmont Fire Department, was one of three first responders to speak at the League of Women Voters monthly breakfast, held at Hector's Village Cafe Friday morning. Like Caparelli, Masceli was a first responder working on the site of the World Trade Center before the buildings collapsed. Caparelli later found his cousin's fire hat by the Rescue 5 engine that his Staten Island department arrived in, but his body was missing. Caparelli surmised that he was standing outside the building when it collapsed.

One month after the attack, his family held a memorial service without the body.

"On May 11, my birthday, they found Joey and they buried him next to his father, uncle, grandparents and great-grandparents," Caparelli said.

Elisabeth Radow, president of the League of Women Voters of Larchmont and Mamaroneck, said 9/11 is something that has to be remembered.

"This isn't something we have to get over," she said.

Greg Sullivan, a former New York City sergeant, also lost family members in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The retired policeman's brother Patrick worked in the World Trade Center, along with their younger brother Jerry, who left for another job just days before the attack. On Sept. 11, Patrick was in the building and couldn't be reached on his cell phone after the planes hit. Sullivan, who was stationed in Brooklyn, called and left instructions on his voice mail of where to go and what to do, but they were never returned. Patrick's body was never found and, 10 years later, Sullivan said his family is still looking for closure. "That was really powerful," said legislator Judy Myers, who represents Mamaroneck, Larchmont and Rye. Sullivan noted that 1,122 people at the World Trade Center were never found.

"It sticks in my head because there's no closure there," he said. Michael Cindrich, a lieutenant with the Town of Mamaroneck, played a periphery role doing security detail around the United Nations. He, too, knew people who died. "We each have our own memory of that day and each memory is unique and personal," said Carolyn Pomeranz, vice president, Mamaroneck Library Board of Directors. What are your memories of 9/11? Do you know someone who was directly affected by the attacks? Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter. You can also submit your response to local reporter Brian Donnelly at

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