2001-09-22 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Chatting With Chapey by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

My prayers and sympathies are extended to the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy and their families.  I must also praise those brave men and women who have been involved in the rescue efforts.
  As we join together to work as Americans to defeat terrorism we must be united in our resolve to keep the world free for democracy.
At this tragic time in our history we have an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important issues that face us.  The New York State Board of Election has re-scheduled the primary election for Tuesday, September 25th.  Although I personally feel that this election is being called too soon we must also realize that our democracy must remain strong.
One way to do this will be to vote on September 25 in the re-scheduled primary.  Although the election may appear less important because of the recent tragedy we must remember that those people who are elected on Tuesday, September 25 will guide our city over the next several years.
I have taken the time to review the resumes and accomplishments of the candidates.  Since I am the Democratic District Leader I will comment on the Democrats who are running for City Council in the 32 A.D.  After reviewing the record, it is my considered opinion that I hope you will join me in voting for Joseph Addabbo.  Joe has served as our democratic state committeeman.  He is a practicing attorney in Queens.  He is a life long resident of our community.  Currently he serves as president of his civic association.  Joseph Addabbo's father served as our Congressman and he is continuing in his family's tradition of community service.   Please join me in voting for Joseph Addabbo for City Council in the 32 C.D.  on Tuesday, September 25th.
  None of us will ever forget where we were on Tuesday, September 11 when the terrorist hit the World Trade Center.
Since September 11th was Primary Day, I started out at 5:15 AM to visit the polling sites.  I always visit each polling site in my district (starting from the Ambulance Corps on Jamaica Avenue) on each day that there is an election.  As I went from poll to poll I was checking with the inspectors to be sure that everything was in place in order to conduct the election.
Around 9 AM, I was paged by a friend and told that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  As I spoke to him from my cell phone, it seemed almost unimaginable that this could happen.  As I continued on to other polling sites I soon heard that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center and then the Pentagon.  (As a matter of fact one of our inspectors who works at John Adams High School had taken the day off from her regular job at the World Trade Center in order to work for the Board of Elections.  By not going to the World Trade Center that morning, she had saved her life.)
By 10:30 AM the election had been cancelled.  Our lives had changed forever.  The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize.  They had accomplished this mission.  They wanted to take away our freedom and change our way of life.  The terrorists may have scared us but they will never take away our spirit.
Churches and synagogues across the peninsula have been holding prayer services.  On the West End, St. Thomas More, The West End Temple, St. Francis de Sales, Temple Beth El, St. Camillus, Ohab Zedak, St. Rose of Lima and St. John's held memorial services.
  I was invited to the service at the West End Temple by Rose and Sylvan Klein and Florence and Ed Spierer.  They are good friends who reach out to the community and are always ready to extend a helping hand.  Rabbi Allen Block conducted the service.  He noted that situations like these bring us together.  We need to have a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.  He prayed that Almighty God will sustain us in this time of need.  He noted that the people who died in the World Trade Center were knowledgeable in business, art and science.  They were individuals who worked in service industries. They were people who went to work to support their families and their community.   Rabbi Block prayed "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me".  
Stewart Rauch directed the choir in their renditions of inspirational music.  His talents have inspired the congregation for many years.  The Rabbi was joined on the platform by the presidents of the West End Temple - Robert Mayer and Valerie Van Leer Greenberg.  They hoped that by coming to the memorial service we would gain inner strength and courage.
We all prayed from the book entitled Gates of Prayer: "When doubt troubles us, when anxiety makes us tremble and pain clouds our mind, we look inward for the answer to our prayer.  There may we find You and there find courage, insight and endurance.  And let our worship bring us closer to one another, that all Israel and all who seek You may find new strength in your service.  Help us, O God, to work for a just and compassionate society where all may share your gifts in the joy of freedom.  May God give our country peace."
Larry Cushner addressed the congregation by telling us that President Bush had declared September 14th as a day of prayer and reflection.  He remembered the suffering families and the workers who are trying to save lives.  He felt that the word sympathy seems insufficient to describe the intensity of our emotions.
Jesse Plutzer said that we all feel numb and breathless.  We weep for our neighbors and friends.  We will always remember where we were when the terrorists struck.  He pointed out that more people died in the World Trade Center tragedy than had died in Pearl Harbor and the Titanic. As each of us comes to terms with this enormous tragedy, we will never forget it or forget those who have suffered and died.
 Please join us at the Rockaway Music and Arts Council Festival on September 22nd and Sept. 23rd where they will be collecting for victims of the World Trade Center and their families who live in Rockaway.  There will also be a candlelight vigil at the end of the festival on Sunday evening.

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