Lives lost on September 11 were recalled at a memorial service held on a Saddle Rock bridge that has a clear view of the Twin Towers, where Great Neck residents gathered to watch the tragedy unfold 15 years ago. Each year since, the memorial service has been organized by members of Temple Israel of Great Neck and attended by congregants, the community, local officials and members of area fire departments.
Featured speaker Gary Ackerman, the former congressman who represented the area when the World Trade Center was attacked, spoke about how he learned of the events and his struggle to understand what was occurring.
He explained that his chief of staff called to deliver the news using a “dark sense of humor.” Ackerman recounted that he was told, “either one of two things are happening. Either the air traffic controllers are having a very bad day or we’re under some kind of attack.”
Members of the Vigilant and Alert fire companies stood at attention next to their fire trucks during the service, conducted by Temple Israel Rabbi Howard Stecker, Rabbi Daniel Schweber and Cantor Raphael Frieder. Approximated 100 people were in attendance, including Saddle Rock Mayor Dr. Dan Levy, Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum and Town Councilwoman Lee Seeman.
Each year, Temple Israel members gather at the synagogue on Old Mill Road and walk to the bridge along Bayview Avenue to mark the date. The service ended with the blowing of a shofar, which Rabbi Stecker said should wake us to the dangers facing our civilization.