New York Officials, Mourners Mark Sept. 11 Anniversary
Bagpipe-and-drum units from the five uniformed services that responded on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 marched from all five boroughs to Manhattan Wednesday morning for a memorial that opened with a moment of silence at 8:46am, the time when the first hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center’s north tower.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke briefly about the 2,801 people known to have died at the twin towers.
“They were our neighbors, our husbands, our children, our sisters, our brothers and our wives. They were our countrymen and our friends. They were us,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
The mayor’s words were followed by Governor Pataki reading “The Gettysburg Address” — the words President Abraham Lincoln spoke at the 1863 dedication ceremony for the Civil War cemetery at Gettysburg.
“In a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground,” Pataki said, recalling one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War and the sacred nature of land where the World Trade Center once stood.
“The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”
Then Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor who led New York City during days immediately following the attack, began a reading of the names of those who lost their lives when the twin towers fell. The alphabetical list began with Gordon Aamout Jr., a 32-year-old investment banker at Sandler O’Neill & Partners.
Cellist Yo Yo Ma played a mournful accompaniment as victims’ family members and notables like New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and actor Robert De Niro picked up the list where Giuliani left off.
As each name was read, family members walked down the ramp leading to the trade center site and left a single red rose. Many held pictures of the deceased, and all were dusted with the fine silt and debris that still swirls around the area.
Following the list of names, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.
Although some businesses decided to close for the day, Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to go to work and show the world that the city is as vibrant and strong as it was before the attacks.
The ceremonies wind down late Wednesday when several heads of state will attend a ceremony in Battery Park, and Mayor Bloomberg will begin a series of candlelight concerts by reading “The Four Freedoms” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He will then light an eternal flame near a mangled but standing “Sphere” sculpture, which once stood at the World Trade Center.