The following is a copy of Rye Mayor Josh Cohn’s remarks from the City of Rye 9-11 Ceremony. You can see the full video and schedule of speakers here.
I am Josh Cohn, Mayor of the City of Rye and it is my honor to welcome you to this commemoration of September 11, 2001.
Well before 9/11, late summer brings me an unease that I soon recognize as the beginning of reflection on that blue-sky day of enormous, enormous loss. As mayor, it is my privilege to try to share what I think we might do that will make this 9/11 more than a day of sadness – what we might make of 9/11 to make it better than a renewal of the day’s historic tragedy. My thoughts, like me their author, are not profound – but I profoundly hope they are useful to you.
First, we must make today about honoring those we lost on 9/11 and in the still continuing aftermath. Those who simply got up, went to work and found themselves caught in a terrorist act of unbelievable cruelty. And those who tried to save them, and in doing so lost themselves, perhaps years later, through the slow toils of disease. More than honoring those precious souls, however, today should be about remembering them in full, not in death, but as they were in life. Many of us knew the people behind the names on the list to be read shortly. On this day, especially, remember a face, a voice, a touch of the hand, a smile, a good deed, a good time shared. On this day, hold those memories of life, not death, yet a little closer to your hearts.
Today, as well, is a day for us to open our hearts to those whose losses to 9/11 were especially great, those who lost spouses, parents, children and others dear beyond words. We share your grief, we commend the strength you have found to bear these losses and continue on, even as you remember, as we, always, will remember.
In our remembering, it is also good to reflect upon the unity this country showed following September 11, 2001.Then, we had a prodigious act of hate to galvanize us to unite. Today we face a complex of challenges twisted around a pandemic, making a picture harder to read. Nonetheless, the need to unite is perfectly clear. We pulled together then. We must pull together again now.
Let me come back to the beginning, though. Above all, let’s remember the people, all our people, lost to 9/11 and how blessed we were to have shared life with them.