The flags of the United States and Israel rose together at the Sunday dedication of a memorial at the Dix Hills Jewish Center honoring American and Israeli military veterans.
“We salute the bravery, the heroism, the devotion, the loyalty and the service of every veteran of this amazing United States and Israel as well,” said Rabbi Howard Buechler, who leads the Dix Hills synagogue, at the dedication. “On this day may God bless America, may God bless Israel and may God bless all of us.”
Standing before the memorial — a large stone with a metal plaque beneath a wood arbor flanked by two benches, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) praised veterans' service to their country.
“We send people off to foreign lands to risk their lives. Many give their lives,” Suozzi said. “Today we honor the veterans who are still living. For what? For freedom and democracy.”
The plaque reads “Honoring those American and Israeli soldiers and veterans who bravely served."
The memorial was result of an Eagle Scout project by Josh Brodsky, 16, of Commack, also a member of the synagogue.
Brodsky said he wanted to “give back to my synagogue” with the memorial and honor older family members who had served in the U.S. military. Brodsky said he raised $2,000 through donations, car washes and selling miniature American and Israeli flags for the project, which took more than a year to complete.
After the dedication ceremony, Avi Saks, 81, an Israeli war veteran who lives in Dix Hills and served in a tank during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, said the two countries have a long-standing connection.
“Israel and the United States are on the same side of history,” Saks said.
Veterans Day always makes him emotional, he said.
“I always feel unhappy for all the people left behind on the battleground," Saks said.
Manny Plesent, 86, of Dix Hills, a U.S. Army veteran who served stateside during the Korean War and is a member of the synagogue, said it was appropriate to honor U.S. and Israeli veterans together because they both fight for democracy.
“Israel is the democracy in that region surrounded by other kinds of countries,” Plesent said.