Ed Blank Unveils Appreciation Plaque at 9/11 Memorial

Ed Blank was very moved to see the completed commemorative site and the impressive bronze statue at its center.

July 1, 2010 16:17
3 minute read.

kkl. (photo credit: KKL-JNF)

In the burning Jerusalem early summer sun, friends, guests and representatives of KKL-JNF and JNF USA assembled on Sunday, June 20, at the foot of the 9/11 memorial in Arazim Valley, for a ceremony honoring the donor, Ed Blank, whose contribution made this site possible.

Ed Blank was very moved to see the completed commemorative site and the impressive bronze statue at its center. He warmly thanked KKL-JNF and JNF USA for the privilege of participating in this unique project, along with expressing his gratitude to everyone involved in building and creating the site. When he last visited here, work on the site was at its peak, so this was the first time he saw the magnificent site in all its glory, in the heart of the breathtaking vistas of Arazim Valley. As he said at the time; "I find it hard to believe that it's finally a reality. I hope that the residents of Jerusalem, along with visitors and tourists from all over the world, will come here. Not only to remember the past, but also to sit quietly and to think about the message of tolerance the memorial strives to impart."

In fact, Ed Blank's wish has come true and many visitors from all over Israel and worldwide visit this site and are duly impressed by its dignified form as they silently commune with the memory of the thousands of victims whose names are engraved around the monument.

Mr. Avi Dickstein, director of KKL-JNF's Resources and Development Department, warmly congratulated Ed Blank for his generous contribution, which enable/d the building of a memorial site for the victims of 9/11. Dickstein presented Mr. Blank a unique Bible embossed with a relief of Jerusalem and a dedication by KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler and the heads of JNF USA, Mr. Stanley Chesley, Mr. Ronald Lauder and Mr. Russell Robinson.

Bob Levine, vice president for education of JNF USA, who attended the ceremony with his wife Helen, congratulated Ed Blank for his determination and dedication to the project and its implementation. As if to prove his point, chance visitors to the site who saw the ceremony taking place approached Mr. Blank and thanked him. They added that the Jerusalem Mountains seemed like the perfect place to build such a memorial. 

After the dedication ceremony, Ed Blank and Bob Levine laid wreaths of flowers at the foot of the memorial, and Bob Levine recited the El Malei Rahamim prayer. Together with Avi Dickstein and Yehiel Cohen, deputy director of KKL-JNF's Central Region, who was in charge of the actual building of the project, Ed Blank unveiled the appreciation plaque, obviously moved. The ceremony concluded with the planting of a young oak tree at the site by Mr. Blank, who watered it tenderly.

We had an opportunity to speak with Ed Blank after the ceremony. "I wanted to support this project because I believe in the idea of peace and harmony," he said. "I lost my wife at the time of 9/11, and I felt that this was a way to both honor my wife and also those families whose loved ones perished in this disaster. This was my first opportunity to see the completed site. The sculpture looks as I had imagined it when I saw the plans, but it is so much more dramatic to see it in its setting, surrounded by the mountains of Jerusalem. It is impossible to visualize just how powerful a sight this is without being here. It is simply awe-inspiring. The sculpture itself is magnificent. When you walk around it, each side gives you a new perspective. 

"The credit for this project should really go to KKL-JNF, JNF USA, the sculptor and the architect, who all did such a tremendous job. I was honored to plant a tree after the ceremony, which I felt was a very appropriate thing to do, because that's what KKL-JNF has been doing since its inception. All in all, I think my feelings are best summed up by the inscription on the tablet at the site, which is a quote from a speech I made at a ceremony that took place in June 2009: "A reminder of shared loss, and a call for peace among nations."  

For Articles, comments or use please contact
 Ahuva Bar-Lev
KKL-JNF – Information and Publications
Email: [email protected]
 Phone: 972-2-6583354 Fax:972-2-6583493

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