SOMERS, N.Y. - As sons of a New York City firefighter, it is no wonder that Chris and Vincent Bellissimo were especially moved by the events of 9/11.
Their initial tribute was an 18-inch plaque mounted on the gate to their business premises, the Salem Fence Company on Route 118 in Baldwin Place.
The idea for a set of three-dimensional memorial gates came from Chris in 2008. Lets make a 9/11 gate of the whole skyline, he said. Vincent hardly had to think about it. Lets do it! he responded.
They found a picture of the lower Manhattan skyline that seemed appropriate, showed it to their in-house craftsman and planned the design. The gates had to be hand fabricated and hand painted. By April of 2009, the gates were completed and installed at the entryway to their shop.
Every year on September 11 we would come in and find cards and flowers left on the gates, said Vincent, Jr. Its a day in history well always remember.
Unfortunately, our gates stood open all day long, so people didnt really get to see the whole thing until the gates were closed at night. We wanted to find a spot where it would be seen more. A special place, so that people would never forget.
The Mahopac Fire Department had the perfect solution. They were building a memorial of their own that could incorporate the gates.
The brief video depicting the gates ends by saying: This gate pays tribute to the firefighters, police, emergency workers and fellow Americans that lost their lives on 9/11. Never forgotten. Always in our hearts.
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