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'We will never forget you'

The "Tribute in Light" at Ground Zero began shining at dusk Thursday.

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September 11 attacks
Acts of terror

(CNN) -- Flowers, notes and children's drawings filled two reflecting pools Thursday at the base of Ground Zero in New York, as thousands of people marked the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks that killed 3,016 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

A children's choir sang the "The Star-Spangled Banner" and bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" as an honor guard unfurled the torn American flag that was raised above the rubble of the twin towers after the attacks.

The mourners paused for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. EDT, the time when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Afterward, about 200 children and young adults began reading the names of the 2,792 victims of the World Trade Center attacks in alphabetical order. Each had a relative who died in the attacks, and many offered tributes and declarations of love when they read their names.

"I love you, daddy, I miss you a lot," said Christina Maria Aceto after reading the name of her father, Richard Anthony Aceto.

As the names were read, family members streamed down the ramp to the lowest level of the site to pray, reflect and deposit flowers in the pools that represented the footprints of the lost towers. One woman clutched a picture of her son that bore the words, "We will never forget you. My son I love you."

The route was lined by dozens of posters made by children of the victims. One said, "I remember riding on my daddy's shoulders."

Mourners paused again at 9:03 a.m. EDT to mark the time when United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower and at 9:59 a.m. EDT and 10:29 a.m. EDT, when the towers collapsed.

New York Gov. George Pataki, looking at the thousands gathered at Ground Zero, said the "sense of loss is like it happened yesterday."

"I don't think that sense of sorrow will diminish, but at the same time, you can't help but feel pride. You look down and see the firefighters, you hear the bagpipes. You see the people, and you have a tremendous sense of pride that the heroism and courage that New Yorkers showed on September 11th." (Full story)

Later in the day, a fire broke out at the Millenium Hilton Hotel located on the eastern edge of Ground Zero. The hotel was badly damaged in the September 11 attacks and reopened May 5.

Firefighters responded at 2:37 p.m. EDT and quickly brought the blaze under control, officials said. One person was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation in the basement fire, but no other injuries were reported.

Memorials were held at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in towns and cities across the United States.

In Washington, President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, stood on the White House lawn for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. EDT

Earlier, Bush told reporters: "We remember lives lost. We remember heroic deeds. We remember the compassion, the decency of our fellow citizens on that terrible day." (Full story)

At the State Department, Secretary of State Colin Powell read a proclamation from Bush in which the president vowed the United States "will continue to bring our enemies to justice or justice to them."

At Arlington National Cemetery, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers participated in a wreath-laying ceremony for the 125 people killed in the Pentagon attack and the 59 passengers and crew members of American Airlines Flight 77.

The troops killed in the subsequent U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were also honored.

"We know that if we do not fight the terrorists over there, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and across the world, then we will have to face them here -- and many more innocent men, women and children, as well as the patriots defending them, will perish," Rumsfeld said.

Ceremonies were also held at the Pentagon, where a stained glass window that was made from debris from the building was dedicated.

In a ceremony at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Theodore Olson, whose wife, Barbara, died on Flight 77, said that Americans must commit themselves "to eradicate the disease" of terrorism and expressed hope that September 11 ushers in the "beginning of the end of blind, ruthless, random brutality."

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a bell tolled Thursday morning as a minister read the names of the 40 passengers and crew of hijacked Flight 93 that crashed in a field. Ceremonies were held with memorial speeches and songs overnight in the Flight 93 chapel.

Pausing to remember in Iraq

U.S. forces paused Thursday for moments of silence across Iraq, as part of several ceremonies marking the anniversary.

Civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, attended a memorial at the former Republican Palace in Baghdad, along with about 400 other members of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The chaplain, Col. Frank Wisner, said a few words before a moment of silence, followed by a bagpipe version of "Amazing Grace," played by a British soldier.

Family members of those lost in the September 11 attack on the Pentagon console each other.
Family members of those lost in the September 11 attack on the Pentagon console each other.

"In the eternal silence of the shared moments, let us attune our hearts to the voices crying out from September 11th, 2001, compelling us to eradicate terrorism in our world and to restore justice and dignity to creation," Wisner said.

Memorial services were also held in Tikrit -- deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's hometown -- and during a prayer breakfast at Baghdad's international airport.

Speaking at the Tikrit memorial, Gen. Ray Odierno urged the soldiers not to forget the victims of September 11, and the servicemen and women who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"It is our job to ensure that we maintain this freedom for years to come, for our children. For our children's children. This is why we are here. And it will make a difference."

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