Written by Pat Grace Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00
It’s been eight years since the attacks of September 11 changed the course of history, and the lives of so many Manhasset families. Each year the Manhasset Clergy Association sponsors a memorial service that is at times solemn, heartfelt, therapeutic, celebratory, dignified, unifying—and always appreciated.
Rain drove the Friday, Sept. 11, ceremony indoors to St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church where St. Mary’s pastor, The Rev. Msgr. John McCann, welcomed the community. He stressed that while September 11 was a horrible day it was positive in that so many on that day gave their lives in service to others. Firefighters and police, certainly, and so many others that day answered the call to help their fellow man. And, McCann said, all should ask how they can help others now. He concluded saying a prayer for those who died and for their families.
Rev. Raymond Ormand gave the invocation followed by scriptural readings by Tod Groman and The Rev. Father Evan Evangelidis.
The Rev. David Lowry gave a prayer for America and for the world. All should give thanksgiving this night and pray for the thousands of people who went to work with total innocence and confidence and whose lives were lost, he said, and “eight years can’t diminish our memory of them.” He asked that all remember the first responders, police and firemen “who did all they could for all of us.” Pray for the families too, he said, for “there are things that can never be fully comforted.” He added prayers for the American Armed Forces for there is strife and danger in Iraq and Afghanistan—pray they may be protected this night and day by day. And, he noted, terrorism has not just struck in the United States, a reality is that it operates in many places, pray also for them: Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and the Middle East.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Johnson read the Litany followed by Amazing Grace performed by the Manhasset High School Ensemble under the direction of Mark Van Schenkhof.
The most personal and moving part of the ceremony has always been the naming of loved ones. The Rev. Jimmy Only presided over this and began by saying all had gathered this evening “to celebrate the lives of the men and women we loved who perished that day.” Then individuals approached the microphone and voiced the name of their loved one. This was followed by a moment of silence. Pastor Steven Tomlinson then said a prayer for healing and The Rev. Everett Zabriskie recited Psalms.
When the community sang O Beautiful for Spacious Skies, it sang with emotion. The sense of patriotism was palpable as voices raised together singing, America, America, God shed his grace on thee.
Rabbi Jodie Siff provided words of peace at the benediction. She had been, she related, at a Shabbat service at her temple when the service was halted and the worshippers were asked to attend the Manhasset Candlelight Memorial Service. That is what it’s all about Siff said, “not that we all worship separately in our individual houses of worship, but together.”