WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island teenager was only an infant when the September 11th terror attacks happened. Despite not knowing any of the victims, he wanted to dedicate his Eagle Scout project to those who were lost.
A 90 pound piece of steel from the World Trade Center stands atop the new monument, but engraved on its side are the names the West Babylon Boy Scout doesn’t want anyone to forget.
“Having this will help those younger generations understand,” Liam Reiff told CBS2.
Liam was only eight months old when the attack happened, but his young age isn’t keeping him from paying respect to the five West Babylon residents who lost their lives on or as a result of that day.
“I like to be religious, so I say a few prayers for those people who lost their lives,” Liam said.
The family of Deputy Chief Raymond Downey Sr., a Deer Park man who died while rescuing others at the World Trade Center, helped Liam Gather the pieces for the monument. The project started off as a way for the teen to achieve his Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Over the year he worked on it, he says it morphed into a passion.
He began recruiting his friends and family as volunteers.
“With an Eagle Scout project, some people do benches or bath houses and here, he thought about the people to pay their respects,” Liam’s mom, Sheila, said.
The high schooler even got the National September 11th Memorial and Museum to donate a seedling from the survivor tree, which endured the attack. The whole monument now stands right next to a field at West Babylon High School.
“We have smaller ones in our courtyard, but something like this is one of the best projects I’ve ever seen a student do,” Assistant Principal Michael Devane said.
The monument will be formally unveiled at the school on Saturday, with many friends and family members of the victims in attendance.