Dozens of mourners gathered on Thursday to remember the 265 lives lost when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in a Queens neighborhood 19 years ago — an incident that briefly sparked terror fears on the heels of 9/11.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined some 50 family members of victims, who braved cold winds and rain for the annual remembrance ceremony in Belle Harbor.
“The fact that you’re still here gives me such hope. The fact that the love you feel for those you lost, and the love for each other, sustains you is a reminder of the strength of the people of the Dominican community. The strength of all New Yorkers,” De Blasio said.
The New York-to-Dominican Republic flight had barely taken off from JFK Airport on Nov. 12, 2001 when one of its tail fins snapped, sending the Airbus A300 plummeting into Rockaway Park.
All 260 passengers and crew died, along with five people on the ground. Officials ruled it an accident the following day.
Bellacis Lora, who lost her brother, 44-year-old Jose Francisco Lora, in the tragic crash placed a white rose at the memorial in his name, before being embraced by the mayor.
“It is very important for the families to come and honor their memory, for us to be here,” the 52-year-old woman told The Post through tears.
“Wherever they are, we are still missing (them). It is very painful for us, but it is important.”
The mayor, who sparked outrage in 2014 for showing up late, arrived three minutes early to the memorial, which included a reading of the names of the victims, a moment of silence and tolling of the bells.
Nannette Forteza, 66, was the first to arrive at the ceremony and the last to leave, having driven five hours from her home in Little Falls, NY, to attend.
She’s been at the ceremony nearly every year for the last 19 to honor her late husband, 50-year-old Anthony Forteza.
When asked why it was important for her to be there, the widow smiled sadly and said, “I love my husband. Love will make you do things.”
“We suffered,” she said of herself and the other mourners.
“We know each other’s suffering, we know how each other feels. No one else does.”
This article originally appeared on New York Post