This transcript appears in the September 24, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
‘Tear of Sorrow’ Memorial Ceremony
This is an edited transcript of the Memorial Ceremony held on the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, at the Tear of Sorrow monument overlooking the Hudson River in Bayonne, New Jersey, which was organized by the Schiller Institute with the support of the Russian Embassy in the United States and the Consulate General of Russia in New York. It began at 10:00 am on Sunday, September 12, 2021. The full video of the event is available .
Michael Pelliccio, City of Bayonne Fire Department (Master of Ceremonies): I’d like to welcome everyone here to the ceremony to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Today, we remember all of those lost that day, and all of those lost to terrorism around the world, and once again, we remember and embrace our two nations, the United States and Russia, in their commitment and solidarity and friendship in the struggle against world terrorism.
I would ask everyone to please rise as we present the colors of our two nations, presented by the New York City Police Department Ceremonial Unit Color Guard, the City of Bayonne Police Department Honor Guard, and the City of Bayonne Fire Department Honor Guard.
[Presentation of the colors as the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus ensemble, directed by Diane Sare, sings the first verse of the national anthem of the United States, and the first verse of the national anthem of the Russian Federation (in Russian).]
I’d like to thank the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus for joining us in that beautiful rendition of our country’s national anthem and of the national anthem of the Russian Federation.
I’d like to call to the podium the Very Reverend Father John Fencik, for the Invocation. Father John Fencik is the Reverend at the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese here in Bayonne. Some people have a calling to help others. For us, that’s quite literal. Father John Fencik is one of our dispatchers, so, when we hear his voice, we go.
While we wait for him to arrive, I thought I might say this. We’re here before this beautiful monument, that’s aptly named “To the Struggle Against World Terrorism,” celebrating the friendship and partnership between our two nations in that struggle. It’s also called “The Tear of Grief,” or “The Teardrop Memorial.”
I found this kind of appropriate. American author Washington Irving says this about tears: “They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” I thought that was kind of a fitting name, not only for this monument, but for the bond that we share.
The Very Rev. Fr. John Fencik: Good morning, everyone!
We gather on this solemn Sunday to commemorate all of those who were taken from this life on 9/11, as a result of terrorist action. We pray that God will be merciful to them and merciful to us.
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase your mercy in us, so that in difficult moments we may not despair or become despondent, but instead submit ourselves to your holy will, which is love and mercy itself.
We thank you, Heavenly Father, for allowing us to gather today in the shadow of this magnificent structure, that it will serve as a reminder to all, that we live in tenuous times, but if we all live our lives together, we will find your eternal salvation.
May Almighty God bless us, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
Pelliccio: I’d like to say, “Thank you,” to Father Fencik, as well as to our New York City Police Department Ceremonial Unit Color Guard, the City of Bayonne Police Department Honor Guard, and the City of Bayonne Fire Department Honor Guard.
At this time, we have Terry Strada, the National Chairwoman for the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism.
Terry Strada (live, via cell phone): Hello everyone! Thank you so much for being here, today. I apologize for not being with you in person, but I have a terrible cold I woke up with this morning and thought it best not to be around anyone. But thank you.
Being here today, you all represent the beautiful unity that this country knows on September 12, the beautiful unity of support and love, that you all show to the 9/11 community was felt then and it’s felt again today.
As I reflect and look back on these 20 years, this anniversary is especially more painful with the realization that everything that [my husband] Tom has missed over the past two decades. His children were very young on September 11—seven, four, and four days old—and now they are young adults. He missed out on weddings, graduations, special events, and even in difficult times that we really could have used his support.
But, also importantly, is the question I keep asking myself: how safe are we since 9/11? Are we safer? In some ways we are. This country has done some wonderful things to protect ourselves. But we need to do more. Where we have failed has been to ever really fully disclose the role the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia played in murdering our loved ones and injuring thousands more, and also propelling us into wars that went on for decades.
We are getting closer to that truth. Today, even, new news has come out that there is new declassification of documents that show a clear connection to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the terrorist attacks of September 11.
This work is so important, because this nation needs to do a better job in terrorism financing, coming down hard on those nations that not only harbor the terrorists, but give them the financial support to carry out the attacks like September 11.
So, while we stand here, remembering, and paying honor—and I’m so grateful that you’re all there today doing that—keep in mind there is more work to do, and we will prevail.
Thank you so much for being here.
Pelliccio: At this time, I’d like to call to the podium, the Honorable Mayor, James M. Davis, the City of Bayonne.
Mayor James M. Davis: Good Morning, everyone!
Today, we stand in front of a monument that Mr. [Zurab] Tsereteli, a Russian native, gave to our city in honor of 9/11. Think about that. Because on September 12, not only were we One, as our nation, together, but the rest of the world mourned with us. The world came together as One, because of terrorism. It took an act of terror to bring people together.
While everyone was watching this unfold on TV on September 11, we here in Bayonne were living it. Those who were escaping, were coming here to Bayonne. Our hospital was treating the injured. Our police officers, firefighters, me—one of our police officers here in Bayonne in 2001—were working with the NYPD and other agencies during the next couple months. But what it comes down to, is that the world came together as One, because of an act of terror; because of an act that murdered innocent people, people who went to work that morning to provide for their families.
I can’t thank Mr. Tsereteli enough for what he has given to the City. Last night, we were here with over 1,000 people commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
We need to look at each other. No matter what nation you live in, we all have the same goals: that’s to live in peace, raise our children in a good, safe environment. We all need to come together. We all need to put our political differences aside. Because only we can do that. And we can never allow hatred to step forward and destroy what we have. It’s up to each and everyone of us to have a voice. Thank you.
Pelliccio: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. At this time, I’d like to call to the podium Consul General of the Russian Federation here in New York, His Excellency the Honorable Sergey Ovsyannikov.
Consul General Sergey Ovsyannikov: Good Morning.
Dear Friends, on the day of September 11, 2001, I, then a diplomat in the Embassy of Russia in Washington, DC, was a duty officer, and I remember every single minute of that day, and of the days that followed.
Thousands of phone calls and emails, innumerable messages sent to our website. Russians, both at home and from around the world, asked us to convey their sympathy to the United States and offered their support and a helping hand to the American people.
President Vladimir Putin was one of the first foreign leaders to call the White House and express his deep condolences to the people of the United States. “I bow to the victims’ memory and admire New Yorkers’ courage,” wrote the Russian leader on the memorial wall at the site of the collapsed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center during his visit to the United States in November 2001.
Years later, our support and sympathy, because of this tragic loss, remains steadfast. This month, the United States commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, an unparalleled tragedy in modern history, in terms of the number of lives lost in it. Among those killed, were 18 Russian-speaking Americans who came here from Russia and other ex-Soviet Union republics. We have not only shared the pain of the American people, but we have also been mourning our own compatriots. We remember each and every one of them.
Fifteen years ago, here in the City of Bayonne, the Tear of Grief Memorial was inaugurated, to become an emblem of solidarity between Russia and the United States, in the struggle against global terrorism. Created by renowned Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, the Memorial was gift to the American people. It is symbolically located just across the place where the World Trade Center Twin Towers had once been erected, before they were blatantly destroyed by the terrorists.
It’s no secret that currently the Russian-American relations are far from being perfect. This, however, does not mean that we don’t share common interests, common values, and common memory.
This Memorial has come to personify our unity and compassion. It is here that we gather every year for a ceremony to remember the Alexandrov Song and Dance Ensemble, who died in an airplane crash in 2016. Two decades ago, the Ensemble was among the first to react to the tragedy of 9/11. Such examples of solidarity bring our peoples close together. Also, in response to global challenges.
Regrettably, the international terrorism has grown stronger. Not a single country is immune to this evil, and even the strongest power won’t be able to defeat it on its own. That’s why inviting the international community in the fight against the international terrorism is our urgent, most important, common task.
We would like to thank the Schiller Institute for convening this memorial event today. We will always remember those who died on 9/11, and we express our deepest condolences to all those who lost their families and loved ones two decades ago. Memory eternal.
Pelliccio: At this time, I’d like to welcome to the podium, Kevin Maynor. He’ll be performing “On My Journey Now, Mount Zion.”
Kevin Maynor: Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand here in love, and I ask you: please don’t stand for me. Please be seated. I know you’ve been standing a long time, and if you’re a senior citizen like me, you need to rest. [laughter]
Dobro utro. Hello. Chao. Zdravstvuyte. Buenos dias. I speak to all of those who might be different than I. I stand in love, on this journey, to bring us together. In spite of all the ugliness that’s happening in our world today, in spite of the disease, we stand together, we fight for one cause: love and peace.
[Sings “On My Journey Now, Mount Zion.”]
Pelliccio: At this time, there will be a reading of a statement by the Schiller Institute’s international President, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, presented by Megan Dobrodt.
Greetings to the Commemoration of the Victims of Terrorism at the Teardrop Memorial
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: The end of the military campaign by the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan signifies the “end of an era,” as President Biden has stated, an era of so-called humanitarian interventionist wars. If one looks at the outcome of these wars of 20 years, it is devastating. More than a million lives were lost, more than 8 trillion dollars were spent, up to 70 million people were turned into refugees. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, were devastated. More than 70 percent of the people in Afghanistan, 90 percent in Syria and even more in Yemen are living now below the extreme poverty line. In all of these countries there is now a gigantic humanitarian crisis, threatening death to many more millions of human beings.
The first priority must be to save the lives of the people in the countries which were the targets of the “endless wars,” and the international community is called upon to join hands in bringing real economic development to the entire region, starting with the creation of a modern health system in every single country, which in the time of this pandemic and the danger of future pandemics is the precondition to defeat this curse of humanity. That requires clean water, which is scarce in Afghanistan—a nation hit by droughts—and it requires electricity, of which Afghanistan only produces 600 MW in the entire country, the equivalent of one medium-to-large plant in the U.S. Eighteen million people are food insecure and 4 million are in danger of starvation in the coming winter.
President Biden is being criticized for the withdrawal of troops, but he did the right thing, and his promise of the “end of the era of the endless wars” also must mean the end of the freezing of financial means for Afghanistan; it must mean the end of the Caesar Sanctions for Syria; and the end of any sanctions during the time of the pandemic. It is the time for joining hands, especially, again, between the U.S. and Russia, as there were several periods in the history of both nations, when such a collaboration existed for the good of all humanity.
Let us therefore use the coincidence of the end of 20 years of war and the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 for the solemn commitment to regard terrorism, hunger, and underdevelopment as the enemies of mankind, and not each other. Let us replace the era of geopolitics with an era of achieving the common aims of mankind. It is not an idle hope that the human species, as the only one that has proven through its existence that creativity is that quality which can transcend all seeming limitations, will soon leave conflict, aggression, and war behind it, and that we become truly human. Let us be inspired by the lofty ideal of man as it is expressed in the great art of the composers, poets, painters, architects, and sculptors, such as the creator of this Teardrop Memorial, around which we gather today.
These last 20 years are hopefully the final chapter in the adolescence of humanity, to be followed by adulthood—in which people and nations relate to one another based on the creative potential of the other, thus bringing out in them the best they can be. To learn to think that way requires an elevated state of mind in all of us, to think from above, from that higher One of humanity which shows the way to a future, in which all nations and all people will create peace on earth and colonize the stars together.
Pelliccio: At this time, Richard A. Black, a representative of the Schiller Institute, will join us to read a statement from the Russian Academy of Arts President and sculptor of this Memorial, Zurab Tsereteli.
Richard Black: Thank you, Michael.
We received a very personal message from Mr. Zurab Tsereteli, who in addition to being the designer of the sculpture here, is the President of the Russian Academy of Arts. I would also like, at this point, to extend a special thanks to the Russian Mission to the UN, for assistance in making this memorial today possible.
Here is the message from Mr. Tsereteli:
Zurab Tsereteli: Dear friends,
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. I would like to once again express my deep condolences to the families and relatives of the victims, to everyone who lost loved ones on this fateful day.
September 11, 2001 went down in history as a mournful day for the whole world. I expressed my experience on the same day in sketches; this is how I always used to think and experience as an artist. This is how the idea came about to create a monument dedicated to the fight against international terrorism. The memorial to the victims of September 11 in New York is a special work for me. I think everyone who remembers that day was gripped by horror, not only immediately, but also from the fact that every person on the planet today is in great danger. That is why our countries are striving to make every possible effort to combat international terrorism.
When I was working on the project of the monument, I felt that I had to create a monument that would not only immortalize the tragic events of 2001, but also become a symbol of the struggle between good and evil and, at the same time, an image of memory that would reveal the depth of sorrow and suffering, that would show that people in the name of saving our common civilization and our planet should not destroy each other.
The Tear of Sorrow Monument is a sculptural image of the memory of the dead, a tear that mourns their souls. In it we see our reflection and in this there is a warning to all those who sow evil.
Today, peace and love are the most valuable things. May they live in our hearts as an eternal, eternal fire.
Pelliccio: At this time, we will be joined once again by Kevin Maynor, for a performance: “The Song of the Volga Boatmen.”
Maynor: In honor of those musicians who died in that terrible plane crash. Lots of my training was in what was in one day called the Soviet Union. And I am honored that you called me here to be here to sing at this event, where so many lives are remembered.
[Sings “Song of the Volga Boatmen” in Russian.]
Pelliccio: I’d like to call to the podium Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst of the National Security Agency here in the U.S.
Kirk Wiebe: Good morning to each of you. Thank you for allowing me to participate in this effort to remember the victims of 9/11 and their families. This is my first such distinction. It is an honor to be with you on this solemn occasion.
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Kirk Wiebe. I am a retired Senior Intelligence Analyst with the National Security Agency, and a whistleblower on that agency’s mass surveillance program that collects data about everyone, whether or not a person is suspected of committing a crime. In other words, that agency operates unconstitutionally, and has done so for about 60 percent of its existence in the United States government. Sixteen different government agencies now have access to that data, for whatever reason they believe is valid.
I am here—like you—to remember the victims of 9/11 and their families and to thank our Russian friends for such a wonderful, wonderful monument to their memory. I remember that terrible day like it was yesterday. So do you. Indeed, we all remember precisely what we were doing when the realization set in that we were under attack, and the agony of knowing that thousands were hurt or were dying in the process.
I am also here to recognize the efforts of the 9/11 families, under the leadership of Terry Strada, to reveal the truth—the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the events surrounding that tragic day. Let me suggest that you do not trust the 9/11 Commission report as being the last word, as being complete. It is not! Certain information was given to that Commission that was purposefully omitted. There can be no justice without truth—the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
I would also like to recognize our Russian friends, who have gifted us this wonderful Teardrop Monument, and who are colleagues in the fight for truth and the fight against terrorism. For them, I would like to offer these words in Russian:
Dorogie Russkiye druz’ya—mne by khotelos’ skazat’ vot chto. My vse sobiraemsya zdes’ v atmosphere bratstva I druzhby—takzhe lyub’vi. My—Amerikanstsy—iskreno blagodarim vas za takoj chudnyj, krasivyj, takzhe vzdokhnovitel’nyj monument i pamyatnik vsem, kto umer ili byli raneny v tot tragicheskij den’ 20 let tomu nazad. Znaete chto my postoyanno stoim vmeste drug s drugom, kak poputniki, v bor’be za istinu i v bor’be protiv terrorizma. Blagodaryu vas za vnimanie.
[In English: Dear Russian Friends, I would like to say the following: We are all gathered here in an atmosphere of brotherhood, friendship, and—yes—love. We Americans sincerely thank you for such a wonderful, beautiful, and inspirational monument—a memorial to all those who died or were wounded on that tragic day 20 years ago. Know that we constantly stand with you as fellow journeymen in the fight for truth and in the fight against terrorism. Thank you for your attention.]
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. May God Bless you and the victims of 9/11.
Pelliccio: At this time, I’d like to welcome to the podium Chief of the Fire Department of the City of Bayonne, Keith Weaver.
Keith Weaver: Good morning! Good morning to His Excellency, our distinguished guests, and everyone in attendance.
For the last several years, at the end of December, the Bayonne Fire Department has been proud to host the Schiller Institute and others as a memorial ceremony is held here, to honor the members of the Alexandrov Ensemble that perished in a horrific Christmas Day crash in 2016. That ceremony is held here, at this site, because of this sculpture. Our Russian friend made this beautiful work of art in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Mr. Tsereteli felt sorrow for his fellow men, and created this Tear of Grief to honor and remind us of that fateful day.
This piece of art serves that purpose well. Last night we had well over 1,000 people here to honor the 20th Anniversary of the attacks, in a beautiful but solemn ceremony. And as we all make a promise to never forget, here in Bayonne, we make that promise, and we will, because of this Tear Drop.
Bayonne will never forget, because of a caring friend from across the world in Russia who reached out and put his hand on our shoulder and said, “I’m going to help.” Mr. Tsereteli has done so much with this gift. He reminds those of us who were here on February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001 of the struggle against world terrorism. And through this monument, he teaches those who weren’t here, that history. Most of all, he reminds us that although we are divided by oceans and flags, we are one in brotherhood.
It is the hope of mankind that the struggle against world terrorism will end one day and all people in this world will live in peace.
Thank you all. God bless the Russian Federation, and God bless the United States of America.
Pelliccio: I’d like to call forward City of Bayonne President Sharon Nadrowski. She and Chief Weaver will be laying a wreath at the Memorial here.
[Sharon Nadrowski and Keith Weaver lay a large wreath of flowers at the base of the Tear Drop Memorial, pausing after, in a moment of silence.]
Pelliccio: I’d like to call His Excellency, Consul General Sergey Ovsyannikov forward to place a bouquet at the Memorial.
[Consul General Sergey Ovsyannikov places a bouquet of flowers at the base of the Memorial, and then shakes hands with Michael Pelliccio.]
Pelliccio: Thank you Consul General. And now, “Vechnaya Pamyat,” performed by the Schiller Institute Chorus.
[Schiller Institute NYC Chorus ensemble, joined by Kevin Maynor, and conducted by Diane Sare, sings “Vechnaya Pamyat” (“Eternal Memory”).]
Fr. John Fencik: The Church teaches us that as long as we keep a person’s memory alive, they are still truly with us. And so we just heard the choir sing the “Vechnaya Pamyat,” the “Eternal Memory.” And now we offer the Prayer of Commendation.
O God of spirits of all flesh, who has conquered Satin and vanquished Death and granted life to your world. Lord, give rest to the souls of all of your faithful departed servants, who departed this life on September 11th. Grant them repose in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Place them in a serene luxuriant place in which all pain, sorrow, and sighing are absent. As a good and gracious God, who loves mankind, forgive all transgressions committed by them, unworthy of Your thought, voluntarily through human frailty.
There is no man living that does not sin. You, alone, are God. Truth is Truth in Eternity, and your Word alone is reality. You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of your departed servants of Christ, our God. We praise your glory together, Eternal Father. Holy Grace is a life-giving spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.
In blessed repose, grant You total rest, O Lord
To the souls of your faithful departed servants,
And make eternal their memory.
Eternal memory. Eternal memory.
Blessed repose. Eternal memory.
May He bless you, Almighty God, descend upon you, and remain with you for all times. Amen.
Pelliccio: Thank you Father Fencik. At this time, I’d ask everyone to please rise for our Color and Honor Guards, and police officer Kevin Shaw.
[Police Officer Kevin Shaw sings “God Bless America,” as Michael Pelliccio salutes the flag. The Color Guards retire the colors.]
Pelliccio: That draws a conclusion to all formalities of the ceremony today, but we’d like to welcome members of the public to lay flowers here at the Tear of Grief monument.
9/11 Memorial Ceremony
Tear of Grief Memorial, Bayonne, NJ
September 12, 2021, 10:00 am
Organized by the Schiller Institute, with the support of the Russian Embassy
and the Russian Consulate in New York
Master of Ceremonies, Michael Pelliccio, City of Bayonne Fire Department
1. Presentation of the Colors
New York City Police Department Ceremonial Unit Color Guard, City of Bayonne Police Department Honor Guard, City of Bayonne Fire Department Honor Guard
2. Singing of the National Anthems of the United States of America and the Russian Federation
Schiller Institute NYC Chorus
3. Invocation Prayer
Very Reverend Fr. John Fencik, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA
4. Remarks, Terry Strada
National Chairwoman, 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism
5. Remarks, Honorable James M. Davis
Mayor, City of Bayonne, NJ
6. Remarks, His Excellency, the Honorable Sergey K. Ovsyannikov
Consul General of the Russian Federation in New York
7. Song, On My Journey Now: Mt. Zion
Kevin Maynor, Bass
8. Statement of the Schiller Institute Founder and Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Read by U.S. Schiller Institute President Megan Dobrodt
9. Statement of the President of the Russian Academy of Arts, Zurab Tsereteli
Read by Schiller Institute representative Richard A. Black
10. Song, The Song of the Volga Boatmen
Kevin Maynor, Bass
11. Remarks, Kirk Wiebe
Former Senior Analyst, National Security Agency (U.S.)
12. Remarks, Fire Chief Keith Weaver
City of Bayonne Fire Department
13. Laying of the Wreath
14. Prayer, Vechnaya Pamyat (Eternal Memory) Schiller Institute NYC Chorus
15. Laying of the Bouquet
His Excellency Consul General Sergey Ovsyannikov
Very Reverend Fr. John Fencik
17. Song, God Bless America
Police Officer Kevin Shaw, NYC Police Department Ceremonial Unit Color Guard
18. Public Lays Flowers at Tear of Grief Memorial