At Detective Anthony J. Venditti Memorial Plaza’s rededication in 1995, a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes was quoted. Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation echoed the same sentiments on Sunday, October 16 at the plaza honoring the slain police officer.
“I have seen all matter of things; a just man perishing in his justice and a wicked one surviving in his wickedness. Be not wicked to excess and be not foolish,” Kerzner said. “Now 16 years later we ask again; why should you die before your time?”
Twenty-five years after being killed in the line of duty, the Ridgewood park memorializing Venditti was rededicated recently with family, local leaders and fellow police officers — even Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly — in attendance.
“Besides rededicating this plaza, we’re here to celebrate Anthony’s life,” said Vincent Acuri, chairperson of Community Board 5.
Over 150 people attended the dedication of the square on the corner of St. Nicholas and Myrtle Avenues.
“Memorials are designed to commemorate great events, special people, great victories, great tragedies,” said Monsignor James Kelly, pastor of nearby St. Brigid’s Church. “This memorial park recalls a great tragedy, a good man and the dedication of New York City’s police personnel to law and order.”
Venditti was killed while on an undercover assignment on Myrtle Avenue in front of the then-Castillo Diner, steps away from where his memorial now stands. He was 34. The square was renamed after the slain officer in 1989 and the memorial plaque was added at the 1995 rededication.
“We will never forget Anthony’s service or his sacrifice, said Kelly. “Today we celebrate his life and honor his memory,”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani sent along his best wishes.
“This rededication ceremony keeps [Venditti]’s legacy alive for his loved ones and the community he dedicated his life to protecting,” he said.
Bouquets were presented to Venditti’s wife Patricia and mother Anna before 60 white carnations were placed on the memorial honoring Venditti which reads: “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself; who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”