Six hundred of the victims were American Jews; five were Israeli citizens.
Held at the 9/11 Living Memorial located right outside of Jerusalem in the Cedar Valley, the event was organized by Jewish National Fund–Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-KKL), the organization that built the memorial.
“September 11, 2001 was a normal day, like this one, with a clear blue sky,” said United States Ambassador to Israel, Daniel B. Shapiro, who keynoted the event. “But it quickly became an infamous day when the sky became filled with ash and smoke, seeing the world we thought we knew crumbling before us.
“Today, we stand here together as Americans and Israelis in a spirit of solidarity and commitment to the future.”
Among those in attendance were Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, religious leaders, world ambassadors and mourners from the United States and Israel.
The ceremony started with an emotional “presentation of the colors” by the Marine detachment that serves the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. Immediately following the short presentation, singer/songwriter Adina Feldman led the crowd in singing the Star Spangled Banner.
The 9/11 Living Memorial was designed by world-renowned Israeli artist, Eliezer Weishoff and was donated by JNF board member Edward Blank. Dedicated in November 2009, it is a 30-foot tall bronze sculpture and is composed of an American flag transforming into a memorial flame. This extraordinary sculpture rests on a granite base that includes metal beams from the remains of the Twin Towers.
Surrounding the sculpture is a stone plaza lined with metal plates that bear the names of all who were killed that day; the only memorial outside of the United States that lists all the names.
Though the ceremony was held to honor the victims of 9/11, Steinitz seized the moment to discuss the most pressing issue of the day: Syria.
He formally blamed the Assad regime for the chemical attack and warned against testing Israel’s red lines. He also stressed that Israel has no interest in getting involved in the 2½ year Syrian civil war, but if the lives of Israelis are threatened, Israel would be forced to interfere.
Steinitz concluded by explaining that despite what might be speculated in the media, Israel’s bond with America is unbreakable.
“I can tell you as the Minister of Intelligence that cooperation between the two countries in terms of security and intelligence is better than ever,” he said.
Closing the event, Adina Feldman once again returned to the stage to sing Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem.
Thousands of miles away from the United States, Israelis and Americans sat together united as one and made a vow never to forget.