POINT LOOKOUT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – People gathered on Long Island where so many spontaneously gathered to watch the smoke billowing from lower Manhattan 18 years ago.

The Point Lookout community is still healing from the September 11th attacks, reports CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

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“We lost the people that I loved, and I don’t get to have here with me, but also it builds strength in me,” said retired FDNY Lt. Michael O’Connell, who is among those suffering from 9/11-related illnesses. “I’m raising three children and I’m trying to bring them up the right way, and show them that the people I don’t have in my life anymore gave everything.”

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“We have plaques of the names of all the residents who were lost that day, and since that day with the all the first responders,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen. “This is an ongoing national struggle to deal with the aftermath of 9/11. So many of our first responders and even people living in that area are diagnosed with post-9/11 illnesses.”

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The monument includes a granite wall etched with the names of those who died in the attack as well as those who died from illnesses after 9/11, and a 30-foot steel beam recovered from the pile at Ground Zero.