In our extraordinary session today, we have extraordinary men and women who have joined us to honor those who lost their life in the horrific attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
We honor those victims who perished that day in an act of violent hatred.
Today, we acknowledge the incalculable loss and the heartache that remains for what was taken from our midst.
However, we remain steadfast, strong, and resolute against the hatred that destroyed men and women who simply went to pray that October day.
In our lives and amid tragedy we do not walk alone. We walk together. We shoulder the burdens, wipe away the tears, and reach out to those in need.
We know that love defeats hate and that only hate wins when we are not strong. When we lose faith.
Our prayers and our fellowship poured out to those who lost loved ones on that tragic day.
Our responsibility is now to extend our outstretched arms, comfort those in need and define a path forward so that this type of tragedy never happens again.
The despair and anguish will remain with all who shared experiences with those who perished.
However, it cannot consume us, or hate will win.
That’s what we are about today. We have come together in a demonstration of love and affection. This extraordinary session is about calling forth extraordinary resolve.
Our fight against hate and bigotry will continue, because the forces of evil knock at our door.
Those who worship at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and all others who pray in whatever denomination and faith and believe that love conquers hate, had our faith shaken that day.
It is that same faith, though shaken, is what will see us through.
In a time of great misery, pain and sorrow, Pittsburgh and the nation has shown resiliency. We have shown great strength.
We have a responsibility today to remember what happened that day, mourn those who we taken from us and ensure that love defeats hate.
There was a Jewish poem for comfort that was shared many times last October, and I’d like to share it again now with you:
As long as we live,
they too will live;
for they are now a part of us
as we remember them.
Today, it is our job is to make this world better because of them.