Brooklyn Heights remembers 9/11 at Promenade prayer service
Death descended from the sky that day.
New Yorkers will never forget.
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center, murdering nearly 3,000 innocent people.
Across the East River, Brooklyn Heights residents who had gathered on the Promenade that day saw smoke billowing from the Twin Towers. When the buildings collapsed, dust blew across the water and covered the watchers.
As they have every year since the days immediately following 9/11, the Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Clergy Association, their congregations and residents assembled once again on the Promenade for a 9/11 memorial service, this year to mark the 15th anniversary.
Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders intoned prayers and read from sacred texts. As they spoke, newly built 1 World Trade Center gleamed in the sunlight on the shoreline behind them.
“God of the nations, the tragedy of Sept. 11 is still so vivid in our minds and in our senses. Yet with a gentle and caring hand, you have lifted us from the depths of despair and guided us to this time of remembrance,” Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, senior minister of the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, prayed in a Litany of Remembrance.
“Enlarge our hearts so that we may weave hope from the torn fabric of tragedies,” Rev. Dr. Brett Younger, senior minister of Plymouth Church, said in the multi-part litany.
Rev. Adriene Thorne, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, evoked the promise of eternal life with a Biblical excerpt, part of Chapter 22 of the Book of Revelation.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life,” she read.
Rabbi Seth Wax of Congregation Mount Sinai recited Psalm 121 in Hebrew, then translated its verses into English.
“My help comes from the Lord,” he said.
Rabbi Serge Lippe of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue reminded listeners that New Yorkers were not vanquished by fear and anger because of the terrorist attack, as the terrorists would have wished. Fifteen years later, when we commemorate the Twin Towers’ destruction, “we recognize the singular and unique commonality of all being Americans,” the rabbi said.
“We are stronger today. We will not let fear seize us,” he added.
At the memorial service’s end, Rev. Julie Hoplamazian, associate rector of Grace Episcopal Church, told the crowd, “Be instruments of peace.”
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