With the 11th anniversary of September 11 arriving, Bellmore resident Robert Odabashian decided it was time to commemorate the memory of his cousin, Carl Bedigian, a FDNY first responder who heroically lost his life that day helping others at Ground Zero.
Odabashian decided to dedicate the red maple tree he had planed in front of his house to Bedigian, a tree he had first planted eleven years ago.
“My son Brian used to be a member of the Bellmore Fire Department, and he had really looked up to those who had responded on 9/11...especially Carl,” Odabashian said. “It dawned on us that we wanted to do something special this year in Carl’s memory, and we talked and decided to dedicate the tree I had planted the year he was taken from us as a living memorial to Carl.”
Carl Bedigian, a Queens resident, was 32 years old and had only been married for nine months when he lost his life on that fateful day. Bedigian, a former New York Transit Authority worker, had changed careers and had been serving as a New York Firefighter for eight years at that point, according to his brother Joseph Bedigian.
“My brother was a member of Company 214, stationed out of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn,” he said. “They were called to respond to the Twin Towers disaster, and we never heard from him again. They eventually found his body along with five other members of his company in the Trade Center lobby several months later in November.”
“It was horrible, but at least we got him back,” Bedigian added. “There are a lot of families that never got anyone back.”
A small ceremony was held on Monday in front of Odabashian’s Williams Court home. Family and local politicians, including Legisl. David Denenberg, D-Merrick, and Town Councilwoman Angie Cullin, gathered around the red maple tree, which was adorned with American flags and a plaque.
Father Valentine Rebello of Saint Barnabas the Apostle of Bellmore said a prayer in the name of Carl Bedigian and the other lives lost on 9/11, and anointed the tree with holy water.
Delores Bedigian, Carl’s mother and a Brooklyn resident, tearfully recalled her son’s memory, and was clearly touched by the dedication ceremony in his name.
“It was beautiful today, it really was,” she said. “One day, out of the blue, Robert called us and said he was having this service for Carl, and it was so touching and very, very nice.”
Despite his poignant loss, Robert Odabashian still feels his cousin’s passing served the greater good, as did the passing of the lives of many of the heroes of September 11, 2001.
“Carl was a brave person for what he did,” he said. “All firefighters are brave, all law enforcement, what they do...giving up their lives to help people, especially during 9/11."