2014 Sept 11 Invocation Presented at the Town of North hempstead NY

Master of the universe, today we remember the events of September the 11th; those who died in the attacks, those who gave their lives saving the lives of others, and their bereaved and mourning families.

Nearly three thousand people were murdered in the terror attacks. Each loss created a painful void for family, friends and the entire nation.

Right after the tragedy, we came together as a nation. We stood as one-in our grief, unity, and, yes, anger. After all, our country, our value system, was under attack.

But our approach to tragedy has always been twofold. On the one hand, we grieve.

There is no way any human being can ignore the terrible and tremendous pain being suffered by so many people. However, we do not allow the grief to become all consuming.

We must turn tragedy into triumph, and ashes into rebuilding. We cannot allow those who would destroy us to be successful, by being paralyzed by our sorrow.

Over the past 13 years we have learned that while the government fights terrorists, we battle terror daily. When faced with opposition, doubt, hatred and fear our response is a simple one. Darkness is not removed with sticks and guns. It is removed with a little light.

As the Freedom Tower recently reached its full height of 1776 feet, we remember the events of the year 1776 and what it represents. We recommit to the ideas of freedom, human dignity, religious pluralism, and mutual respect that this great nation was founded upon. Let each one of us find ways to add in positive acts of goodness and kindness, of charity and prayer.

In a society that our youth lack role models to be proud of, we pause to remember the first responders. Those that placed their principals above all and then gave it all. An example of true selflessness. It is the ultimate sacrifice that we ask you G‑d that we should never be asked to pay, but we live our lives a little more selfless, in memory of those that did.

Almighty G‑d, who created all humankind in His image, teach us to remember the sanctity of life, the evil of terror, and the danger of a world filled with violence. Help us to honor the words of the prophet: “Do we not all have one Father? Did not one G‑d create us?” and be with us in our work, our hopes and our prayers for a world of justice, compassion and peace. Amen.