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9/11 Tribute at White Plains Park Honors Six Lost

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- More than 50 people gathered at Liberty Park Friday night to join with  families and friends honoring loved ones lost during the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago.

Nella Barrese, who has annually paid tribute to her friend Marisa DiNardo at the White Plains ceremony, said she was touched by how many people gathered at Liberty Park.

“We’ve never see it like this. It’s overwhelming. It’s sad, but it makes me happy that so many people have come together to honor my girlfriend and others,” said Barrese.

Local Girl Scout troops opened the ceremony with a rendition of “God Bless America,” which was followed by a presentation by the White Plains public safety officers, the Cub Scouts “Pledge of Allegiance” chant, and Nina Pelton’s performance of the National Anthem.

The audience then reflected on the loss of six residents: Sharon Balkon, Marisa DiNardo, Hemanth Kumar Puttur, Joe Riverso, Gregory Rodriquez and Linda Sheehan.

As each victim’s name was called, a family member or friend placed a white lily on the memorial. Six candles sheathed in white cloth lanterns were launched into the sky to honor those who were killed during the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Her lantern went straight up. That was amazing," Barrese said of her friend DiNardo's lantern. "She’s up there in heaven watching over us.”

Teresa Riverso, who lost her son Joe Riverso on 9/11, said it was “wonderful” that Father Thomas Collins and the football team from Archbishop Stepinac High School came to honor their former football coach.

“It’s very good that the mayor and all the dignitaries did this,” said Riverso. “It’s hard. Sometimes you don’t know if you want to go or not. Every day is 9/11 for me. My son, he walked into the room and it was like the sun was shining.”

The Liberty Park ceremony attracted residents from neighboring states, such as Vicenta Guerin, a Stamford, Conn. resident.

“We came to commemorate the dead of 9/11 and the strength of the United States and its people in the wake of the tragedy of our time,” said Guerin, whose relatives performed with the boy scouts and girl scouts.

Did you know any of the six residents who died on 9/11? Are there any favorite memories, stories, or photos you'd like to share? Please leave thoughts in the comment section below or email them to

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