Cedarhurst is typically a tight-knit community, but on the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, the village drew even closer.
Residents turned out at Cedarhurst Park for a commemoration for those who fell in the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Among those presiding were Andrew J. Parise, the village mayor, as well as local clergymen including Rabbis Kenneth Hain and Jay Rosenbaum, of temples Beth Sholom and Israel, and Msgr. Paul F. Rahilly, pastor of St. Joachim’s Church.
The ceremony was ushered in such tunes as John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” followed by an a cappella performance of the national anthem, in which performer Katie Miller was backed up by the crowd.
People wept softly or remained fixed with somber expressions as the clergymen and others gave their account of 9/11. Among the longest and most powerful speakers was Bruce Blakeman, former majority leader of the Nassau County Legislature. In his speech, Blakeman announced publicly for the first time that he was scheduled to have a breakfast meeting at Windows on the World, a restaurant atop the north tower. He ended up having to take his children to school that morning and had to push back the meeting. Otherwise, he would have been at the top of the north tower when it was struck.
Still, the day touched him with tragedy. His nephew, court officer Tommy Jurgens, volunteered to help evacuate people during the attacks. Blakeman had to go to Manhattan 12 days later to provide a DNA sample to identify his nephew’s remains.
Blakeman’s speech was followed by one of hope. Rahilly summed up the whole day in these few words: "We are a small community in terms of space, but we are a large community in terms of faith."
Above: Brian Stabile, band director at Lawrence High School, plays "Taps" on his trumpet to commemorate the loss of life during the Sept. 11 attacks during a ceremony in Cedarhurst Sunday.