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The Stephen Talkhouse To Host Benefit For East Hampton Sons Of The American Legion's 9/11 Memorial Project In Amagansett

The Squadron and the Gangas are happy to relay that they commissioned artist Gustavo Bonevardi to incorporate the beam into a design. (Courtesy Photo)

Resilient human beings of strength and faith, we remember the events of September 11, 2001. More than a decade and a half has passed since then, yet we continue to honor and more importantly remember those whose lives were lost, along with those who survived, as well as those that offered their immeasurable help and assistance. We now have an opportunity to build, brick by brick, a foundation of gratitude to our fellow man in our community.

Two gentlemen who have never forgotten are former Commander Robert Ganga of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 419 in Amagansett and his brother, Tony Ganga, who is the present Commander. The Gangas, along with others, are very proud to announce that the squadron will be dedicating a memorial on the grounds at The American Legion Post honoring the victims of the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Tony revealed, "A striking 14-foot structural steel beam salvaged from the debris of the World Trade Center was donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to the squadron." Further, "My brother got the ball rolling on this but it stalled for about a year, and then the steel beam was moved from one Port Authority to another. Between paperwork and miscommunication it took three years for us to finally have the steel beam available."

The Squadron and the Gangas are happy to relay that they commissioned artist Gustavo Bonevardi to incorporate the beam into a design. "Best known for his work on the memorial 'Tribute in Light' - the twin beams of light projected skyward from Lower Manhattan every September 11th - Bonevardi has devised an intimate memorial for Amagansett that will offer a space for contemplation for the entire community."

Following the passing of the original architect for the project, Tony explained, "We had to come up with a new design which delayed us even more. Then, given the timing of the new design and the time it took to obtain appropriate engineering reports and town permits delays, we are now just so grateful for the help of everyone involved to finally be able to get this project going."

The memorial has room for 1,300 bricks. (Courtesy Photo)

Presently Tony reports, "Our budget is $32,000, and we have raised $17,000 to date, however, we have had to expend a bit for reports and permits. We have room for 1,300 bricks and have sold 125 bricks so far. We are so grateful to everyone who has donated their time and services to this project, and to the Talkhouse for hosting this benefit, as all ticket proceeds will go directly to the budget for completion. We don't have a definite unveiling date just yet."

The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett is a well-known music venue, but is also well-known for its deep involvement and support of the local community. The benefit will be held on Saturday, December 22, 2018, at 6:00 p.m., with a silent auction, live music by LHI, and performances by comedians Arch Schill, Chris Williamson and Kevin Bryne. Tickets are $20, (you must be 21 or older to attend), and you can learn more about the evening's performers at stephentalkhouse.com.

Tony continued, "To raise the remaining funds required, the Squadron is requesting donations through this fundraiser where the public can add their own personal thoughts or dedications to bricks."

If you are unable to attend the event, or even if you are attending, please do consider ordering a 4 x 8 brick with a minimum donation of $100, at www.thatsmybrick.com. Tony warns, "Be sure you are happy with your design as it will look very similar to the image on your computer when completed."

A considerate act of acknowledgment for this undertaking will allow you to express in your own words your feelings, and shows our residents and visitors that as a community and as a nation we have not forgotten, nor will we ever forget, while we continue to carry in our hearts and memories the tragedy suffered by us all on that day.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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