Difficult, but necessary.
Those were the words of Rabbi Howard Stecker of of Great Neck as he led a small congregation of residents Tuesday in a commemorative Sept. 11 anniversary ceremony on Saddle Rock's 9/11 Memorial Bridge.
"At this time we standing here on this bridge looking out at the site of tragedy but also at the site of rebirth and opportunity," said Stecker, to a group of about 50 gathered on the bridge at dusk to honor the memory of all who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks 11 years ago.
In 2001, the and Nassau County rededicated the Saddle Rock Bridge as the “9/11 Memorial Bridge.” The landmark has become a place of vigil and memorial ever since.
On the bridge, which features a view to Manhattan and the rising Freedom Tower, Stecker stressed the importance of justice and recognition. He said at the time of the tragedy we could think and talk about nothing else, but as time goes on, the events seem to become fewer and farther between.
"In the Jewish spirit we pledge that we will get together. That we will remember and that we will try to act justly in honor and in memory of all of those who tragically lost their lives," said Stecker. "It's an honor to know that we have committed ourselves to coming here to welcome in the larger community each year in this difficult but necessary commemoration."
A moment of silence and reflection was offered as the group faced the New York City skyine at dusk.
The ceremony, which lasted about an hour, featured the playing of the shofar and various psalms.
Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy told the group he was glad that people continue to commemorate and remember the day and those who had fallen.
"We have to continue to do exactly what we are doing to make sure that future generations continue to remember what had happened because just like the Holocaust, 50 years from now somebody is going to stand up and say it never happened," said Levy.
Six Great Neck peninsula residents died during the attack on the World Trade Center: Jonathan Ielpi, Andrew Stergiopoulos, Peter Frank, Frederick Kuo, Jr., Joshua Vitale and Richard Yun Choon Lee.
A plaque, placed on the center of the bridge near a U.S. flag, honors the uniformed personnel, volunteers and private citizens who died Sept. 11, 2001.