By Jonathan Benedek/TPS
Jerusalem (TPS) – US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that Israeli society stands out as a model in successfully passing on the memory of significant events and tragedies to future generations. Shapiro made his remarks while speaking at a memorial event marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
“Where Israelis have excelled and where we continue to learn from them is conveying the power of memory and history forward so that each successive generation understands the meaning and the obligations that flow from events from which they cannot personally recall,” said Shapiro.
“[Israel is] a nation that has endured countless tragedies, and more than one existential crisis each of which shattered individual lives and stung an entire generation.”
Shapiro, Jewish National Fund Chairman Ronald Lauder, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren joined a delegation of American police and firefighters to mark the anniversary at Jerusalem’s Living Memorial to 9/11. The nine-meter-tall sculpture, which was dedicated in 2009, is the only memorial to the tragedy outside the united States. It was designed by Israeli artist Eliezer Weishoff and is engraved with all 2,996 victims’ names.
Nearly all speakers made reference to shared values between the United States and Israel. Former Ambassador made compared the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center to Palestinian suicide bombers who target families and children on Israeli buses, and Jerusalem Mayor Barkat said the American and Israeli experiences with terror were part of a wider, pointed attack on Western mores and values.
“The 9/11 murderers tried to destroy our way of life… They failed, in New York, Jerusalem, Paris, Brussels. They didn’t win 15 years ago, they won’t win today and they won’t win tomorrow,” Barkat said.
Predictably, the anniversary re-opened wounds for bereaved families and rescue workers called into service on that fateful day. Several individuals struggled to hold back tears as memories of loved ones and traumatic experiences took center stage, together with feelings of gratitude for blessings experienced since 2001.
For some, the tragedy touched various parts of their lives – individuals who lost multiple family members or colleagues, who participated in rescue operations, or a combination of all three. 42-year-old Jimmy Lisi, a police detective from Jersey City, NJ watched the Twin Towers collapse, spent the rest of the day transporting evacuated people from the Hudson River ferry docks to local hospitals – and worrying about his brother-in-law, a New York police officer who ultimately died in the aftermath of the attack.
“The attack taught me not to take our lives and blessings for granted, and especially the need to stick together,” Lisi told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Lisi said this year is the first year he has not spent the anniversary of the attack with his sister, but he added that the chance to spend the day in Israel was an “invaluable opportunity.”
“We mourn with the Israel Police and with the Israeli people. It is an honor to mourn and pay tribute together,” Lisi said.