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Girl Scout Dedication Inspires Reflection on 9/11

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Joann DiBiono has attended each Sept. 11 memorial ceremony as a member of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Girl Scouts, who dedicated two benches that now sit in front of "Girl Scout Rock" at the 10th, and perhaps final, tri-municipal ceremony Sunday.

DiBiono, of Troop 2522, was just 5-years-old when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks took nearly 3,000 American lives, 12 of which were from Mamaroneck and Larchmont.

"When I was younger, I probably didn't know what had happened," the junior at Mamaroneck High School said. "I just remember standing on that hill and being next to some of the older girls."

Now, DiBiono, 15, is one of those older girls and was able to reflect on what Sept. 11 means.

"I think the kids have to remember and learn what it was to be united as one country, one people," said Toni Pergola Ryan, trustee for the Village of Mamaroneck and candidate for mayor.

Troop 2056, comprised of 12 eighth graders, spent many hours reflecting on what Sept. 11 means to them while working on their Girl Scouts Silver Award.

"For their Silver Award the girls wanted to do something for the community, specifically for the ‘ Girl Scout Rock’ 9/11 memorial," said Emily Sullivan, leader of Troop 2056. "They went to the site and thought that we should put in two benches on which people can sit and reflect."

Sunday, Troop 2056 cut the yellow ribbon cast between the two benches, set up in front of Girl Scout Rock in Memorial Park. Prior to that, they sang “ God Bless America along with several other troops.

Speakers included town supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe, Larchmont mayor Josh Mandell and village mayor Norman Rosenblum, among other local officials. Rev. Bill Crawford of the Larchmont Avenue Church, who delivered the benediction, remembered John T. McErlean's daughter Mary Kate.

"Mary Kate McErlean was an awesome soccer player," said Crawford, who noted she was playing a soccer game the Sunday after her father died. "Every time her foot hit the soccer ball, you could hear cheers, and every cheer sounded like a family member."

Larchmont resident Dan Demosi knew McErlearn and remembered sports as the only thing he could look forward to in the days and weeks after Sept. 11. "From high school to recreational leagues to pro sports, those events gave people a sense of normalcy," said Demosi, who was at work in mid-town Manhattan when the planes struck the World Trade Center.

O'Keeffe, whose term expires in December, believes this year may be the last that a ceremony is held.

"We wanted to do something special because this is the 10th anniversary, and it might be the last one," said Pat Allen, service unit manager for the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Girl Scouts.

How did your family remember Sept. 11 on the 10th anniversary? Comment below, on Facebook and Twitter. You can also e-mail local reporter Brian Donnelly at bdonnelly@mainstreetconnect.us.

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