About 100 family, friends and community members gathered at the Thomas Butler Memorial at the Kings Park Bluff yesterday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11th.
Butler was a New York City firefighter who was lost on that day. The memorial was erected by the town of Smithtown in 2003 for Butler who was also a Smithtown Bay Constable.
A speech was given by Butler’s brother Bill Butler Jr. and a blessing was said by Rev. Sean Gann.
“We speak about him all the time,” said his widow Martha. His three children Sean now 15, Kelly now 14 and Patrick now 10 all look like their father, Martha said.
Butler said that over the years the Thomas Butler memorial 5K run has raised $50,000 in scholarship money.
Yesterday’s ceremony served to unveil a set of sixty memorial bricks that were added to the Thomas Butler Memorial. The bricks include sentiments such as “You are my hero” and “Forever in our hearts cuz till we meet again.”
“We know him since he’s four years old,” said Elissa (D’dinato) Giampolo. The family donated a brick that reads “Loving Memories for the D’dinato family.”
“We grew up with him being a third brother,” Elissa Giampolo said. “He was always prankstering and playing jokes. He had a great sense of humor. He was a loving father, husband and friend.”
Looks are not the only traits that they have inherited from their father.
“My daughter is a singer and he loved singing,” she said. “My son (Sean) is in the army cadets. He grew up on Tom’s lap with him instilling in him the love of defending our country.”
“It’s wonderful to see this many family and friends,” Martha said. “This is a special place to us. We always come every week just to say hello.”
Butler’s father, Bill Butler, Sr., a retired captain in the New York City Fire Department thought it was a fitting tribute.
“This is a tribute to one of the many heroes that we lost that tragic day.”