“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors and remembers.” President John F. Kennedy’s quote rang true when Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, the City of Aventura and the Aventura Marketing Council co-hosted an event to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and honor local police and fire rescue departments.
Hundreds of guests uniting with law enforcement officers, fire rescue departments and elected officials from throughout Miami-Dade and Broward were welcomed by Aventura Mayor Susan Gottlieb, Aventura Marketing Council Chairman Cliff Schulman and temple leaders including ATJC Chair William Landa, Executive Vice President Dr. Amir Baron, Rabbi Jonathan Berkun and Cantor David Muchnick.
Herb and Gloria Barker, owners of Barker Animation Art Gallery in The Village at Gulfstream Park, were also proud to join in honoring “brave heroes.” Aventura Vice Mayor Zev Auerbach introduced the Barkers, noting, “Herb and Gloria have been giving back through true sharingfor over 60 years…. the Barkers donated artwork to 169 fire station headquarters in New York and Connecticut as their way of thanking first responders.”
During the ceremony, the Barkers recognized local law enforcement and fire rescue personnel, as well as supportive public officials by presenting 40 framed Statue of Liberty serigraphs signed by renowned artist Melanie Taylor Kent – commissioned for the 1986 Centennial of the Statue of Liberty.
“This artwork, on permanent display in the Liberty Museum, reminds us that the freedoms we share today in America are guarded by these wonderful heroes willing to sacrifice their lives to make sure we’re all safe,” Herb Barker said.
After a stirring rendition of our national anthem sung by Cantor David Muchnick, Rev. Will Keyser of The Quiet Place gave the invocation, saying “When our buildings crumble and lives are devastated, our God is there to strengthen us to carry on.”
Cliff Schulman read a touching 9/11 tribute poem by Alan W. Jankowski, “…Heroes that would not turn their back; With determination that would not crack; Who bound together in their ranks; And asking not a word of thanks.”
The patriotic serigraph was graciously accepted by representatives from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and their renowned Urban Search & Rescue Team; Stations 7, 8,10 & 32; Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue; State of Florida; Miami-Dade County; Cities of Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach, Golden Beach, Hallandale Beach, North Miami Beach, North Miami, Miami Gardens, Bal Harbour Village, Bay Harbor Islands, Indian Creek Village, Miami Shores, North Bay Village and the Seminole Indian Tribe Police Department.
During the remembrance, poignant remarks were also shared by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief William Bryson and Capt. Jeff Strickland of the Urban Search & Rescue; Aventura Mayor Susan Gottlieb and Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Fred Maas with the benediction given by Father Harry Loubriel of St. Thomas University.
“Ten years ago we were attacked and some of our buildings may have crumbled – but our foundation, our very core as Americans, will continue to survive,” Mayor Gottlieb said.
Rabbi Berkun emphasized the need to, “…deepen bonds of humanity; reject hatred, prejudice and violence; rekindle hope and trust; bolster community outreach; and build a life of health, happiness, justice and peace through prayers and deeds of kindness.”
ATJC Chair William Landa’s closing remarks echoed the 9/11 memorial message: “As a resilient nation, we will carry on.”