GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus announced that William Bratton Jr. will be the keynote speaker at the County’s September 11th Patriot Day ceremony. Bratton and his wife Mary lost their 23-year-old daughter, Michelle Renee Bratton, on September 11th, 2001.
The event, which is open to the public, will be held at the Orange County Arboretum at Thomas Bull Memorial Park on Friday, September 11th at 6:00 p.m. All guests must wear masks and practice social distancing during the program.
“We are honored to have Bill Bratton serve as our keynote speaker on what is always a moving evening,” Neuhaus said. “The loss of Michelle was tragic, and this ceremony helps us all to remember and to honor her and the 43 other Orange County residents who died on 9/11. Michelle was a bright light, a beautiful, vivacious young woman with her entire life ahead of her. Bill and his wife, Mary, and their family have endured a tragic loss, but have done a wonderful job keeping Michelle’s memory alive.”
Michelle Bratton, a Pine Bush High School graduate, was working as an executive assistant in the eSpeed Division of Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of Tower One on 9/11. She had been working at the World Trade Center for less than four weeks and was planning to become a teacher after experiencing life in New York City. Prior to Cantor Fitzgerald, Bratton worked for an executive search firm in Manhattan.
William and Mary Bratton created the Michelle Renee Bratton Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan (CFOS) in 2002 in memory of their beloved daughter. The scholarship, which is given each year to a young woman graduating from Pine Bush who, like Michelle, is a member of the National Honor Society and on the girls’ swimming and diving team or a member of the chorus, has awarded more than $40,000.
William Bratton has frequently spoken about Michelle and his 9/11 experiences since the attacks almost 20 years ago.
Neuhaus also announced another Orange County 9/11 tribute planned for that evening. The Orange County Emergency Services Center, located at 22 Wells Farm Road in Goshen, will shine twin beams on Friday as a tribute to those lost during the terrorist attacks. The beams will be on at dusk on 9/11 and remained lit throughout the evening.
“These lights are a small but powerful way for the County to honor those who were lost on 9/11,” Neuhaus said. “They will serve as a tribute not only to their memories, but also to the resiliency and spirit of their families and all County residents. Orange County will never forget the victims of the terrorist attacks 19 years ago.”