Jackson Pincus of the Jewish National Fund thanked a trio of local first responders for their service, sacrifice and commitment to the Mercer Island community during an online 9/11 commemoration assembly on Sept. 11.
Hosted by Northwest Yeshiva High School, Head of School Jason Feld, Island Police Commander Jeff Magnan, Fire Chief Steve Heitman and Deputy Fire Chief Mike Mandella also spoke during the event. The event was coordinated through the Jewish National Fund and focused on honoring the first responders — who earlier received plaques — and helping them learn about the local Jewish community.
“We pray for your continued safety in the line of duty as you work each and every day to ensure the safety of others,” Pincus said.
Feld said that the tragic events of 19 years ago — during which thousands of lives were lost in New York City, Washington, DC, and outside of Shanksville, Penn. — brought out unimaginable heroism, sacrifice and virtue from first responders during a time of unspeakable evil.
“Moments like this are not only important to just keep the memory alive, that in and of itself is invaluable, but we remember today so that we can carry the meaning into our own lives throughout the day and, God willing, every day moving forward,” Feld said.
Added Heitman: “What is really important today is the fact that a generation that wasn’t even alive during this event is still memorializing it, and that means the world to us and we greatly appreciate that and we hope that you will continue to carry that on.”
Magnan thanked the high school for including the first responders in the event.
“You are a local partner in this and we do appreciate all the well wishes and we appreciate the time that you provide for us,” he said.
Prior to 9/11, Mandella was a member of the Fire Department of New York. He became emotional during his speech, noting that he lost a lot of friends that day.
After thanking everyone for attending the remembrance, Mandella said: “You high school students are our future. It will be your responsibility going forward to do all the things possible to assist in preventing future acts such as those of 9/11. I implore you to study, study hard to be successful at whatever it is you’re going to choose as your life’s calling and together help maintain our democratic way of life.”