Updated Sept. 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Village of Cedarhurst held its annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Andrew J. Parise Cedarhurst Park exactly 19 years after the attacks.
The speakers in the ceremony included village mayor Benjamin Weinstock, Town of Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman, State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and County Legislator Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence). They reflected on the attacks at the World Trade Center that killed 2,997 people. Seven were Five Towns residents: Neil Levin, Thomas E. Jurgens, Joseph Rivelli Jr., Bettina Browne Radburn, Kevin O’Rourke, Howard Selwyn and Ira Zaslow.
Weinstock noted the unselfishness shown by the first responders in both the attacks and the pandemic should always be remembered. “There are not enough words to express how we truly feel and the gratitude we share for our first responders,” he said. “We need to bless our first responders and the United States of America each and every day for all the good they do for us.”
Kopel recalled the camaraderie he saw in the aftermath of the attacks. “After 9/11, I was driving up from Miami and I saw American flags everywhere,” he recalled. “There was white-hot anger, but there was unity. People helped each other, talked to each other and felt a sense of brotherhood that we were in this together.”
From the 9/11 granite markers that line the walkway to the park’s memorial fountain at Cedarhurst Park, village Trustees Ari Brown, Myrna Zisman and Israel Wasser read the day’s happenings from when the Twin Towers were struck by the two airplanes to their collapse. Each description was punctuated with a single toll of a bell. The colors of the flag were presented by American Legion Lawrence Cedarhurst Post 339, the Meadowmere and Lawrence-Cedarhurst fire departments.
Kaminsky said the word that comes to mind on the anniversary is vigilance. “We didn’t realize on that morning as a country how vigilant we needed to be to protect our freedom,” he said. “We need to remain vigilant to help the men and women today who made sacrifices for us 19 years ago today.”
Blakeman’s loss that Tuesday 19 years ago was personal. Jurgens, a nephew, was a senior court officer for the New York State Office of Court Administration and a volunteer firefighter for the Meadowmere Park Fire Department. Levin was a friend. He expressed his gratitude to Cedarhurst for holding the ceremony every year.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Cedarhurst board for holding this ceremony every single year,” Blakeman said. “There were a lot of communities that could not pull this off this year due to the circumstances of the pandemic. I know that Cedarhurst would have the fortitude and leadership to make sure we did this in a safe way.”
Earlier on Sept. 11, the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department conducted a smaller remembrance at its firehouse.