NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio was on time this year for a Queens memorial service marking the 14th anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587.

The jetliner went down in the Rockaways on Nov. 12, 2001, shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was headed to the Dominican Republic.

All 260 on board and five people on the ground were killed.

As a cold wind knifed in from the Atlantic Ocean, de Blasio mingled with grieving families.

“It had been 14 years, and as I heard from so many people here today, 14 years, but the pain is still so strong,” the mayor said.

“Today, we mourn as one.”

De Blasio called for all to bow their heads in a moment of silence for those lost, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

Last year, the mayor angered relatives of crash victims when he arrived about 20 minutes late for the annual memorial service.

A moment of silence for the victims of the crash was held at 9:16 a.m. – the time the plane crashed in Belle Harbor. The mayor did not arrive until 9:23 a.m., missing the ringing of a bell to begin the rite.

De Blasio offered two excuses last year, saying he took a boat that was delayed by fog, and that he wasn’t feeling well in the morning. He also apologized to the victims’ relatives.

The incident highlighted de Blasio’s tendency to be tardy, but on Thursday de Blasio arrived more than an hour ahead of schedule Thursday, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

The mayor has made a committed effort to be more punctual, and he and his aides have also adopted several new tactics to control his image amid slumping poll numbers.

He is trying to bypass the media by connecting directly to voters by curtailing the number of freewheeling press conferences he holds while starting to host town halls.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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