Community members, first responders and local leaders gathered at Clark Botanical Garden in Albertson for the September 11 anniversary memorial service Tuesday morning.
It was a service filled with remembrance but also unity. The service began at 8:30 a.m., just minutes before 8:38 a.m., the exact time that that the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center 11 years ago.
Standing at a podium positioned before a remnant of steel from the World Trade Center, began the ceremony with opening remarks and a moment of silence.
“The courage of the those people – those men and women who ran into the smoke-filled buildings while others were trying to run out – keeps our faith in the capacity of human kindness,” Gross said.
Rabbi Anchelle Perl of Chabad of Mineola delivered the Invocation, followed by the Presentation of the Colors by the Albertson VFW. Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman led the Pledge of Allegiance and Melissa Goscinski sang the National Anthem.
In his address, spoke of Sept. 11’s impact on .
“We’re not the same as communities throughout the world that commemorate this moment,” he told the crowd. “We were a part of it. We saw it. We lived it. “
“It is our tragedy, and it is our nation’s tragedy. It is the world’s tragedy,” he added. “And yet the hope and the positive that comes from uniting of course is something we always look for. We yearn for something positive that comes from disaster.” He spoke too of justice and building community.
Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel read “The Truly Great,” a poem by Stephen Spender. She was followed by Seemi Ahmed, a Muslim chaplain from Hofstra University.
“As people of conscience, let us stand together to fight bigotry, hatred, fear-mongering, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, which keeps increasing,” Ahmed said, referring to the massacre at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
Chhatar Singh Sahni, director of the Sikh Organization of New York, said that the Sikh faith “teaches us to believe in one God” who “loves His creations without any distinction whatsoever.”
In remembering the victims of 9/11, he added, “Let us resolve to prevent any such recurrence in the future.”
The town councilmembers read the names of the 53 people who lived in North Hempstead and perished on Sept. 11, with the ringing of a single bell sounding after each name.
The Long Island Conservatory provided musical performances.
The events of September 11 were a calling for Reverend Tom Tassone, now of Saint Aidan’s Church in Williston Park to “preach a God of life and love, not a God of hate and deaf.”
“In the late morning I got into my car and I drove to the seminary and I applied that very day,” he told the audience.
The Rev. Dr. Charles R. Vogeley of offered a moving Benediction.
The Albertson VFW thundered the rifle salute and one of their own intoned Taps.
Thirteen-year-old Corey McCluskey from Manhasset closed the service with a performance on the bagpipes, with the assembled filing out to haunting strains of “Amazing Grace.”