On Brooklyn Heights promenade, interfaith ceremony remembers 9/11
Members of various faiths overlooked New York Harbor and lower Manhattan on Wednesday night, tears in their eyes, as they memorialized the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. The Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Clergy Association aided them in their healing through prayer, readings of scripture, music and tributes.
“Sometimes we need to cry,” said Rev. Brett Younger of Plymouth Church. “We cried when we saw the plane slamming into the second tower as smoke poured from the first, the buildings vanishing in a gray cloud, survivors stumbling through the streets covered with ashes and we will never be the same as we were before that day. We have scars. We have wounds that will not heal.”
The gathering has been continuously held since just a few days after the attacks. With the anniversary at 18 years, Rev. Kate Salisbury of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity welcomed the many contributions her fellow religious officials could offer.
“My own contribution this year stemmed from my realization that it’s been 18 years, which in the span of a lifetime is considered significant,” she said. “I was thinking about that first gathering … and realized that at this stage for me, at that time I was in the infancy of my grief.”
After an invitation to prayer, residents were offered stones to lower into bowls of water, symbolizing their concerns and their hopes. Music from Nancy Black and Rev. Adriene Thorne of the First Presbyterian Church accompanied the tribute.
“We don’t want to forget,” said James Morgan, a Cobble Hill resident who witnessed the attack from Manhattan. “Eighteen years later, it feels like people are starting to forget but I think if you were here, it seems like yesterday and a lifetime at the same time.”
During a group prayer, Morgan’s wife, Donna, chose to honor those close to her who were killed that day. She worked with three court officers in Manhattan who died at Ground Zero, and her friend from the community had started working as a manager at Windows on the World six months before the attack.
“She was so happy to have that job,” she said.
Dr. Ahmad Jaber of Dawood Masjed called the attack “a horrible event, which portrayed the Muslims as terrorists,” and subjected them to hatred. He stressed the importance of standing in unity to heal.
Before a rendition of “America the Beautiful,” Rabbi Serge Lippe performed the blowing of the Shofar, or ram’s horn, which in Jewish tradition is a wakeup call to be “attentive to our own deeds and conditions of the world around us,” he said.
As the service ended and the sun set, the tribute to the Twin Towers in lights gradually lit up the sky over Manhattan.
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