2001-10-27 / Letters

Proud To Be An American

Proud To Be An American

Dear Editor;

When the planes ripped into the Twin Towers and tore into our hearts, we tried to wrap our minds around this unthinkable tragedy. Like all of our neighbors, friends and families, we tried to deal with it the best way we knew how. Like so many hundreds of thousands across America, we turned to G-d for solace, for hope, for strength. We held special services in our synagogue and recited the Psalms that we always read in troubled times.

With the black cloud of the Twin Towers hovering over us, invading our thoughts and haunting our dreams, we went to work, sent our kids to school and approached the High Holy Days with a clearer understanding of the tentative nature of our existence. I know that the words we repeat every year on Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur were particularly meaningful this year. "Who will live and who will die?" "Who by water and who by fire?" "Who by stoning and who by strangulation?" "And repentance, prayer and charity will remove the evil decree."

Like everyone else, we lined up to give blood, donate socks, undershirts and money to aid the cause. And still we felt that there had to be more that we could do to pay our respects tot he innocent victims of this atrocity, the members of every faith and nationality who died that awful day.

How could we express our gratitude to the heroes of New York City, the
firemen, and policemen, emergency workers and rescuers who were at ground zero even before the area was named? So when the community gathered at Fort Tilden to pay tribute to the heroes and victims of the attack on the World Trade Center, it was not only our duty to participate, it was our privilege.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, the descendent of grandparents who fled the Pogroms (terrorist attacks of the early 1900s in Poland and Russia. And because my in-laws are survivors of the Nazi Holocaust that terror is not just some historic event I read about in history books. Like so my of my fellow Jews, I thank G-d my family was blessed with the opportunity to find sanctuary in this great country. I was always grateful to be an American, but I've never been more proud to be a citizen of this great land than I was when I was standing in Fort Tilden, side-by-side with my fellow congregants and the entire Rockaway community.

As we listened to speeches, songs and prayers honoring the missing and the dead, I thanked G-d for the privilege of being an American citizen, a New Yorker and a resident of such a great neighborhood. My thoughts and prayers are with the many fathers and mothers husbands and wives, siblings and children whose loved ones are gone. I continue to pray that G-d will give them the strength to pull through, and that, together, we will overcome the evil that has reached our shores. G-d bless America.


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