Seventeen years ago, Kenneth Patrick Lira took a train from the Paterson Station to New York City. He never returned home to his family.
Lira was among the almost 3,000 people to perish on 9/11. On Tuesday morning, mayor Andre Sayegh and New Jersey Transit executive director Kevin Corbett dedicated the Paterson Station to Lira in a moving ceremony in presence of his family.
“Even though, I know today, that my son is at peace, one side of my heart is hollow and empty forever,” said Lira’s palpably anguished mother Marina Arevalo. “My lovely son, I missed you so much, love you as always.”
Lira was 28 years old. He worked for Genuity on the 107th floor of the south tower, said the family. He had been with the company for little over three years when the towers came crashing down.
“As commuters go by, we hope this will always serve as a constant reminder of that day,” said Corbett. He read a proclamation that had a brief biography of Lira, who is of Peruvian heritage. He attended St. Brendan’s School in Clifton and graduated from Paramus Catholic High School.
“We may erect memorials and lay wreaths to venerate those we lost, but the most enduring honor is to ensure our community and nation continues to be true to our values. We must recognize what’s best in us and never let others divide us, ever,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell.
The speeches and wreath laying culminated in the unveiling of the sign dedicating the train station to Lira.
Sayegh, who attended St. Brendan’s School with Lira, pulled the cover off the sign. Arevalo broke down in tears seeing the sign honoring the memory of her boy.
The mayor said on Dec. 9, Lira’s birthday, New Jersey Transit will install a memorial plaque for Lira closer to the train station.