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The mood was somber as state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) fastened a red, white and blue wreath onto a quiet Whitestone street sign alongside the mother of a fallen U.S. Army private during his journey Monday to 24 intersections renamed for Sept. 11 heroes in northeast Queens,
And although it has been nearly eight years since her 22-year-old son James E. Prevete died in the line of duty while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Jean Prevete said it was warming to see her neighbors remember his contribution and sacrifice.
He was among the many American soldiers who joined U.S. forces and invaded Iraq after Arab terrorists hijacked planes that destroyed the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan, hit the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We always look up and think about him,” Jean Prevete said of the renamed street in her son’s honor, at the northeast corner of 147th Place and 5th Avenue in Whitestone. “Sometimes we still get mail in his name. It’s like he’s saying hello.”
At each intersection, the senator said he sought to honor those lost and the sacrifices made since Sept. 11, 2001.
“We cannot forget what happened that day,” Avella said before a moment of silence at Prevete’s stop on the route. “There are people who step forward to defend democracy and freedom and we must never forget their sacrifice.”
On the front porch of Jean Prevete’s house, a plaque donated by her son’s friends and neighbors paid tribute to him with the words, “Our brother, our hero.”
While presenting Prevete’s wreath, Avella said the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks incorporated two noteworthy events.
“Osama bin Laden has been wiped off the face of this earth and now those who developed illnesses from working at Ground Zero will receive proper care,” Avella said, referring to the United States killing of the Al-Qaeda leader who masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks and the recent expansion of the Zadroga Act to cover first responders’ health care.
The senator has led a motorcade throughout northeast Queens over the last 10 years to pay tribute to those who died Sept. 11 from Little Neck through Flushing.
Of the stops he would traditionally make throughout the area, Avella said he added two new visits to the route: Lt. Peter J. Farrakopf Place, at 207th Street and 26th Avenue in Bayside, and Dominick J. Berardi Way, at 149th Street and 32nd Avenue in Flushing.
The motorcade also included recognition for Bayside’s Glenn J. Travers Sr. 9/11 Memorial Way, Firefighter Andrew Christopher Brunn Street, Arthur Warren Scullin Way, Captain Vincent F. Giammona Way, Captain James J. Corrigan Way and Michael D. Mullan FDNY Way.
Joining Prevete as Avella’s Whitestone stops were Firefighters Thomas Gardner, Scott Kopytko, Michael Cawley, Michael Carlo, Carl Asaro and Sergio Gabriel Villanueva.
Flushing stops also included Jennifer Y. Wong Way and William M. Feehan Triangle.
Firefighter Timothy M. Welty Street was Avella’s only stop in Auburndale as was Christopher Racaniello 9/11 Memorial Way in Little Neck.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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