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Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

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It was a proud day for the Hamdani family and Muslim Americans as the white, crisp paper attached to a rope slid across the green sign on the corner of 204th and 35th street in Bayside Queens revealing “Salman Hamdani Way”.

On Monday, April 28, 2014, the street where Mohammad Salman Hamdani grew up a few houses away from the corner was named in honor of his courage during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. The morning of the attacks the 23 year-old left work with his medical kit after hearing about the attacks on television to help which lead to his untimely death. He was found five months later in the rubble.

Salman Hamdan was brought to the U.S. at 14 months old and lived in Bayside for 11 years, becoming a graduated from Bayside High School and Queens College. He was a certified paramedic and EMT and a cadet with the NYPD at the time of his death. The “Young Jedi” as his license plate read, was also a very avid Star Wars fan, and it was one of the things he felt made him American.

“One day I asked him ‘what is Star Wars?’ he said ‘momma, you don’t know what Star Wars is!? You’re not an America.’ So, in order to be an American you have to know Star Wars,” said Talat Hamdani, mother of Salman Hamdani, jokingly about her sons love for the movie series.

Many of the elected officials in attendance expressed their appreciation for Salman’s bravery and service to the country.

“Couldn’t be prouder to have a remarkable person from our community,” said Assemblyman Edward.

“He died a true hero,” Council Member Paul Vallone added, “standing here with elected officials to honor someone who has honored us, and while others were in shock that day, others of us actually ran and performed heroic deeds. The road has been long and shows the perseverance of the family and we thank those who helped us get there today.”

When the motion was brought to the board earlier this year it was unanimously voted in favor of the street being named. This was a new issue for Council Member Vallone who took office in January, but has been an ongoing fight for Salman’s family, especially his mom.
It was also expressed how the naming of the street will bring a positive narrative to Muslim Americans as part of the fabric of this country.

“We have suffered and carried the cross for over a decade and this is a statement that the American Muslims are an integral part of the American fabric and moving forward this is a turning point on how America perceives American Muslims and hopefully we will move forward in a positive direction in the future,” said Talat.

“Often times Muslim Americans are not given credit enough that they are Americans and they live with us and shared the blood of their family with us also,” said Vallone.

“He died a true hero. Renaming this street in his honor is just a small token of our great appreciation for Salman. May he forever rest in peace,” said State Senator Tony Avella.

Talat was very grateful to Paul Vallone and Community Board 11 in Queens for honoring her son’s heroism during the 9/11 attacks and as an American citizen.

“Community board 11 deserves the accolades for making this happen,” said Talat. “I’m proud to be the mother of a true American hero.”

Salman Ahmad, professor of music at Queens College, added to the momentous occasion by singing “Give Peace A Chance” by John Lennon in honor of Salmani Hadmani’s legacy and new street.

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