PLATTSBURGH — Twelve years ago Wednesday, Rabbi Dr. Kari Tuling waited in agony for news about a childhood friend who was working at the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers fell to terrorists.
“I remember the awful feeling of waiting to find out how she was,” she said.
Thankfully, Tuling eventually learned that her friend had survived the horrific attacks, but Sept. 11 will never again pass by unnoticed by the Temple Beth Israel rabbi.
“I think it’s important to remember the day,” she said, adding that she calls her friend every year on Sept. 11.
Since coming to Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh two years ago, Tuling has also led a prayer at SUNY Plattsburgh’s annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony.
While last year’s prayer was in honor of those who survived the tragedy, she said, this year, she prayed for those who perished.
FLOOD OF FLAGS
Also speaking by Hawkins Pond was Associate Professor and Chair of History at SUNY Plattsburgh Dr. Wendy Gordon, who talked about the metaphorical line that will forever separate the way the world was before Sept. 11, 2001, and the way it has been since.
“Awareness about ‘now’ is colored by our memories of ‘then,’ and I can’t think about September 11, (2001) without thinking about July 4, (2001),” she told the crowd gathered there.
Gordon described how, before Independence Day that year, Old Navy began selling red T-shirts bearing the American flag and the inscription, “2001”; she purchased one for her young son to wear to Plattsburgh’s Fourth of July parade.
“When we got downtown for the parade, it seemed like everyone in town was wearing the same shirt — just this flood of red and flags all over the streets,” she said.
Gordon, at times tearfully, noted how she loves Plattsburgh’s festivals with their wholesome, small-town activities and the crowds they draw.