“No day shall erase you from the memory of time,”
Those words, taken from Book IX of “The Aeneid” by Roman poet Virgil, are inscribed on the wall of the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum in downtown Manhattan.
The quote means to never forget, the same oath the United States took after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Zachary Goldfarb, a retired New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Services deputy chief, shared his thoughts at Temple Israel of Great Neck’s Sept. 11 memorial service on why never forgetting is so important to the local community.
Goldarb detailed his experiences on Sept. 11, 2001, describing his opening hours of the attack when a call came into his radio of a plane hitting the North Tower while heading home to Nassau County after an overnight shift.
He immediately turned around and headed to the scene, coming out of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel after the second tower was hit.
Goldfarb and his fellow first responders were setting up command before quickly finding shelter as the South Tower collapsed.
“We heard a horrible noise, looked up and saw a black cloud crashing down on us from above the collapse of the South Tower coming down on our heads,” Goldfarb said. “We ran for our lives and I dived into an open ambulance to take cover as debris fell all around.”
In the following aftermath of the tragedy, while deeply wounded and in mourning, Goldfarb said America experienced a spontaneous “outpouring of compassion, unity, patriotism and volunteerism that significantly contributed to the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts.”
Goldfarb recalled seeing crowds of people lined up on the West Side Highway near Christopher Street cheering, waving banners and flags and thanking every first responder on their way to the site.
The “thank you brigade” Goldfarb called them, deeply affected him personally, he said before sharing three things to help keep our promise to never forget.
First, remind yourself and each other, Goldfarb said.
“Ensure that it remains part of the academic curriculum in your kids’ schools,” Goldfarb said. “Accept the discomfort as part of growing from the experiences.
Second, do not suffer from a lack of imagination or failure to prepare.
“Be they hurricanes, terrorist attacks or fires in the home, remember that hope is not a plan,” Goldfarb, a member of the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, said. “Review your family’s emergency plans, know how you will remain in contact with loved ones if you lose cellular service or internet.”
Third, remember that Sept. 11 is designated as a national day of service. Donating blood, joining your local fire department or EMS agency, volunteering in your local library or donating to the Red Cross for disaster relief are a few ways Goldfarb said to give back to your community.
“Your act of humanity and love can mean so much more than you would ever know to a person in need,” Goldfarb said. “Never forget what we’re capable of doing together even as we fulfill our promise to never forget the events of Sept. 11, 2001.”