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New York marks anniversary of tragedy

Painful memories linger as families, officials honor victims

Officials in a Battery Park vigil represented the 91 nations whose citizens were killed in the September 11 attacks.
Officials in a Battery Park vigil represented the 91 nations whose citizens were killed in the September 11 attacks.  

By Dave Siff

NEW YORK (CNN) -- As the sun went down on the first anniversary of the World trade Center attacks, tens of thousands of New Yorkers attended candlelight vigils around the city.

At locations in each of the five boroughs people gathers to remember and reflect on the events of one year ago and listen to music from area orchestras.

Each of the five sites had a video link to Battery Park where Mayor Michael Bloomberg lit an eternal flame in memory of the victims of 9/11 in the presence of representative of the 91 nations who lost citizens in the World Trade Center attacks.

Earlier on Wednesday evening, President Bush joined families of those lost in the World Trade Center attacks at the "circle of honor" at Ground Zero.

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He and first lady Laura Bush placed a wreath commemorating the thousands of lives lost on September 11 at the former World Trade Center site after walking side-by-side in the evening sunlight down a ramp lined by rescue and emergency workers.

Making no public remarks, the president and first lady spent time talking and listening with the families who gathered at the site together with many of the people who worked on the rescue and recovery effort.

The plaque on the President's wreath read, "Every life taken here, every act of valor performed here, the nation holds in honored memory, George W. Bush."

New Yorkers have been holding ceremonies and remembrances all day Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Earlier, thousands of people -- family members and friends of the victims as well as dignitaries and officials -- filled Ground Zero. Many wore memorial ribbons and held pictures of people who died when hijacked airliners destroyed the twin towers.

As the ceremony proceeded, mourners placed flowers, pictures and American flags in the memorial circle at the 16-acre concrete pit that formed the foundation of the trade center.

Flags flew at half-staff as bagpipers came from each of the city's five boroughs in separate processions, filling the air with the solemn sound of "Amazing Grace."

At 8:46 a.m., the moment the first jet struck the trade center's north tower, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for a moment of silence.

"Again today, we are a nation that mourns," Bloomberg said.

"Again today, we take into our hearts and minds those who perished on this site one year ago and also those who came to toil in the rubble to bring order out of chaos and those who, throughout these 12 months, have struggled to help us make sense of our despair."

New York Gov. George Pataki then read from the Gettysburg Address.

Shortly before 9 a.m., former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani led off a recitation of the names of the 2,801 victims -- starting with Gordy Aamoth, 32. The reading -- which lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours -- was accompanied by mournful music from cellos, violins, guitars and flutes.

At 9:03 a.m., the recitation stopped as bells chimed to mark the moment when the second hijacked plane hit the south tower.

Bells rang again 56 minutes later, at 9:59 a.m., the moment when the south tower collapsed, and again at 10:29 a.m., marking the collapse of the north tower.

After the last name was read -- that of Igor Zukelman, 29 -- a trumpeter played taps, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey read the Declaration of Independence, and a chamber music group offered a stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The New York Stock Exchange, which normally rings its opening bell at 9:30 a.m., delayed its opening until after the first ceremonies ended at Ground Zero.

"It's fitting and appropriate that the New York Stock Exchange remains silent during the memorial services," NYSE Chairman and CEO Richard Grasso said Tuesday.

'Grieving is not linear'

Many people held pictures of the victims killed in the World Trade Center attacks.
Many people held pictures of the victims killed in the World Trade Center attacks.  

Around the city, firefighters, police and rescue personnel are pausing to remember those from their ranks who were killed at the World Trade Center.

Not far from Ground Zero, firefighters at Chelsea's Engine 3, Ladder 12 firehouse -- which lost five men in the attacks -- lowered a flag that had been flying at half-staff since 9/11 and replaced it with a new flag raised to full-staff.

At an Upper Manhattan church, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department will hold a memorial service to honor those from its ranks who lost their lives in the attacks.

As night falls, the remembrances will continue with a sunset service at Battery Park. Bloomberg will read President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, and 91 heads of state will light candles to signify each country that lost citizens in the attacks.

Bells chimed at 9:03 a.m. to mark the moment when the second hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center's south tower.
Bells chimed at 9:03 a.m. to mark the moment when the second hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center's south tower.  

Candlelight vigils, accompanied by musical performances, will be held in each of the city's boroughs, including at Manhattan's Central Park, bringing a solemn end to the day's public remembrances.

But private remembrances will continue, as they have every day since the towers fell, and as they will for years -- and anniversaries -- to come.

"Grieving is not linear. It comes in little bits and pieces," said Marian Fontana, the widow of a firefighter. "This is a long process that we're going through -- a long, painful one."




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