Teresa Riverso, left, of White Plains, mother of Sept. 11 victim Joseph Riverso, is greeted by Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, prior to the start of the White Plains Recreation and Parks Department's Community Gathering of Remembrance and Hope on Friday in Liberty Park. See more photos at LoHud.com. / Xavier Mascareñas/The Journal News
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WHITE PLAINS — In a poignant ceremony that served as a prelude to similar events across the country this weekend, more than 200 people gathered at Liberty Park Friday evening to remember those who lost their lives 10 years ago in the 9/11 terror attacks.
"It's beautiful that so many people are here," said Ester Di Nardo, whose daughter, Marisa Di Nardo Schorpp, was killed at the World Trade Center. "My daughter loved people. She would have really appreciated this. I think it's wonderful."
The crowd included first responders, Scouts, public officials and just plain people, who listened to brief remarks from Mayor Thomas Roach, watched as a wreath and lilies were placed at the monument bearing the names of the six from White Plains who were killed, and gazed skyward as "flying lanterns" were released in their memory.
"I'm here to show my respect," said Genevieve Brown of White Plains, who stood in the back of the throng. "I didn't know anyone who was killed, but none of us should ever forget what happened that day and how many people lost their lives."
Austin Taps, 17, joined his Stepinac High School football teammates, who wore their jerseys as they stood vigil for World Trade Center victim Joseph Riverso, who had been an assistant coach. The team has attended the White Plains ceremony each year in his honor.
"I was 7 when it happened," Taps said. "We could tell by our teacher's face that something was wrong. It means a lot to be here. We never knew Coach Riverso, but he's part of the Stepinac family. He's like a grandfather to us."
Nearby, Riverso's parents, Teresa and Dominic Riverso, tearfully accepted well-wishes from Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, and others.
"Joe would have loved this," Teresa Riverso said. "His passion was coaching kids. It's amazing that after 10 years the team and so many other people still come to remember."