BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “I miss Leonard terribly,” remarked Leigh Macadlo, sister.
A family member of a 9/11 victim from Western New York reflects on the tragedy 20-years later.
Macadlo lost her twin brother, Leonard Castrianno, in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.
“It crushed me — it was awful — just a terrible feeling,” recalls Macadlo. “The 20th anniversary is like any other year for me.”
Macadlo said it feels the same every year.
“It doesn't feel any different for me,” Macadlo.
Macadlo met outside of Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo. She is one of the organizers of the Western New York Families of 9/11 who each year place flags to honor all those who died that fateful day.
Remembering the lives lost 20-years ago. Flags outside Kleinhans Music Hall where inside @BPOrchestra held a rehearsal for American Resilience concert Saturday evening. @WKBW #wtc #911Anniversary #TwinTowers #heroes #September11 pic.twitter.com/d0RxZLYzEU— eileen buckley (@eileenwkbw) September 10, 2021
Nearly 3,000 flags represent the lives lost on that tragic day — a day that remains the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil in American history.
“I was in disbelief as to what I was watching — felt like I was watching a movie,”Macadlo reflected.
Castrianno worked as a junior stock broker for Cantor Fitzgerald and was believed to be on the 105th floor the day of the attack.
His life cut short at just the age of 30.
“We were always there to protect each other and look out for each other — I couldn't do it this time,” described Macadlo.
Macadlo says the last time she saw her brother was September 5th — 20-years ago — when he traveled to buffalo for her son's 6th birthday.
“We just got to spend that weekend with him prior and it was a beautiful weekend and that's what we remember and that's what they remember,” responded Macadlo.
Castrianno was also Godfather to his sister’s daughter. She’s now 24 and her brother 26.
“They wanted to know so much more about him — they were intrigued,” remember Macadlo.
Macadlo and her brother grew up in Williamsville. She says parents, now elderly, continue to cope with the loss of their son.
“My mother tells me — I’m okay — I’m okay — I’m at peace — I talk to him everyday and I know she does. You know my father is upset still to this day, but he's also at peace because he remembers his memories as well,” Macadlo said.
The flags to honor the victims were moved this year to Kleinhans because Saturday evening the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will pay special tribute to remember the victims as heroes.
“I was struck by those flags on the lawn — it is such an emotional feeling to see that and we all wanted to work so hard to honor those memorials,” replied John Morris Russell, principal pops conductor, BPO.
Morris Russell calls the concert a “labor of love”.
“These profound feelings of loss — memory, but also of resilience — music communicates those feelings more extraordinary than anything,” Morris Russell said.
The BPO rehearsed for Saturday’s concert Friday afternoon demonstrating the powerful music.
The concert is titled “American Resilience: 20th Anniversary Commemoration to 9/11 Heroes”.
Resilience is defined as the “ability to recover quickly from difficulties”; “toughness”, and that certainly describes Macadlo.
“He was a kind soul — let me tell you — he would do anything for anybody — it didn't matter what he had going on,” Macadlo described.
Tickets for Saturday’s BPO event are general admission, select-your-own-price, with a suggested ask of $40 per person. Process will support the Western New York Families of 9/11 Memorial Fund.
Retired WKBW Anchor Keith Radford will be serving as master of ceremonies.