(from "New York Daily News" - 09.11.2003)




You're listening to "What's love got to do with it" by Tina Turner

Rudy: 'It's something that's with you. It's going to be with you for the rest of your life.'

Family members of those killed on 9/11 gather at Ground Zero. 
The plaintive voices of children marked the profound horror and grief of Sept. 11, joining in song Thursday at Ground Zero and reading the names of the 2,792 people who died there exactly two years ago.

Children who lost relatives in the most devastating terrorist assault in U.S. history began reading the names after a children’s choir sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The children approached podiums at the site in pairs, reading an alphabetized list of the World Trade Center lost. They read the names carefully, pausing and sometimes repeating themselves to get the pronunciations right.
Many of the children, upon arriving at the name of their own relative, included a personal message. Christina Marie Aceto, 12, said: “I love you, Daddy. I miss you a lot. Richard Anthony Aceto.” Another girl blew a kiss toward the sky.
There were 200 name readers in all — most of them children, but some young adults who lost relatives in the attack. The reading took 2 1/2 hours, and two trumpeters blew taps in a sad postscript.
“I want to thank the children of New York for helping us,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “I hope it will be a wise and just world and that our city will always be the place where dreams reach skyward and people live in peace.”

The ceremony paused four times — twice for the moments when each of the hijacked jetliners slammed into the trade center towers Sept. 11, 2001, and twice for when the towers collapsed. The anniversary commemoration also included readings by dignitaries. Bloomberg read from a poem called “The Names,” by U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, that included the line: “Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory. So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.”
The ceremony opened with two bagpipers and a drummer marching onto the site of the trade center, bearing an American flag that once flew over its ruins. The three men represented the Fire Department, the Police Department and Port Authority, which together lost more than 400 people in the devastating terrorist attack. Across the nation, the tolling of bells, the laying of wreaths and, in many places, moments with no words at all were planned for the second anniversary of the terrorist assault that killed more than 3,000 people.

At the White House, President Bush stood with his staff on the South Lawn and bowed his head in silence at 8:46 a.m., the time that the first terrorist-hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center.
He did not speak as he left the lawn, but earlier, the president described his thoughts as he left a morning church service.
“We remember the lives lost,” Bush said. “We remember the heroic deeds. We remember the compassion, the decency of our fellow citizens on that terrible day. “We pray for the husbands and wives, the moms and dads and the sons and daughters and loved ones ... we pray for strength and wisdom.”

At a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld noted the sun-drenched Pentagon building visible behind him in remembrance of the 184 people killed there two years ago.
“In our mind’s eye we can see the arsenal of democracy that it represents,” he said. “The men and women who died there that day were part of that arsenal, defending democracy as surely as any patriot on the front line.”

Bells tolled across the rural community of Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed into the ground, killing 40 passengers and crew who are credited with revolting against the plane’s four hijackers. Firefighters and other first responders to the crash gathered about 10 miles away from the site at a fire training school, where 24 sugar maples were planted to honor their efforts.
“I feel incredibly proud for what my nephew did and those brave souls and what a difference they made,” said Candyce Hoglan, the aunt of passenger Mark Bingham. “They prevented those monsters from continuing on with their plan.”

At Engine Co. 5 in Chicago’s West Loop, nine firefighters and two medics saluted a flag at half-staff at 7:46 a.m. local time, when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the trade center’s north tower. “We just want to pay our respects to those guys,” Capt. John Pentek said of his colleagues in New York. And outside the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston, the brother of the pilot of one of the four hijacked planes on Sept. 11 asked people to truly remember their lost loved ones.
“Think not of the empty chair, but the people who filled those chairs,” said Jim Ogonowski, whose brother, John, piloted Flight 11. “We must find the inner strength and courage to live our own lives in a way which they would have wanted.”

In Middletown, N.J., 37 black marble monuments — one for each town resident lost to the attacks — were placed along a tree-lined path to next to the train station the victims boarded to go to New York on Sept. 11.
Rose Marie D’Amato was there to honor her sister, Donna Bernaerts-Kearns, who was working on the 94th floor when a plane struck the trade center’s north tower. “It’s not easy today,” D’Amato said. “I felt like I wanted to be here, and I wanted to be in New York. We never recovered any body remains.”

At a ceremony at the Cool Springs Galleria in Franklin, Tenn., south of Nashville, about 250 people were gathered in front of a traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial. “Our son is 16 months old and he doesn’t yet understand what happened on Sept. 11, but our parents did a good job of bringing us up to understand World War II. We want to do the same for him,” said Carie Harter, 30, an advertising executive who recently moved to Franklin, Tenn., from Chicago with baby Nolan and husband Travis.

At Ground Zero, the footprint of the trade center’s north tower was outlined by a 4-foot fence draped with banners bearing drawings and messages painted by children of the victims. One of them was a simple red heart, outlined in black, with the inscription: “To my Dad, Steve Chucknick. Your in my heart forever. Love always, your son Steven.”
Family members of victims walked down a ramp into the pit of the site, holding flowers to place in small, temporary square reflecting pools representing the towers. Some knelt to touch the trade center’s bedrock; others hugged or wept. A few scooped up handfuls of dirt and saved them in empty water bottles.

As the names were read, some relatives held cell phones up so others unable to attend could hear. Some victims’ families held up photos of their loved ones when the names were called out.
“Last year you had more anger at what happened,” said Candace Pankanin of Cliffside Park, N.J., who came to the site to honor her brother-in-law, Tim Grazioso, and his brother, John. “Now the reality is here that they are not coming back.”
The Ground Zero commemoration, similar to last year’s, featured readings by Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Gov. Pataki and New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey.
Giuliani said before the ceremony that he still wakes up at night thinking about that day. “It’s something that’s with you. It’s going to be with you for the rest of your life,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

In New York, some remembrances started a day early. A silent vigil was held Wednesday night at St. Paul’s Chapel, which survived the neighboring complex’s destruction and was temporarily converted into an all-purpose relief center for rescue workers.
And at sunrise Thursday, about 200 people sat quietly at an ecumenical service at a small park not far from Ground Zero that included a violinist, readings of poems and songs by a children’s choir.
“I was hoping to get a couple minutes to face up to all the emotions of the day and to continue the process of trying to adjust,” said Nathaniel Hupert, a 37-year-old public health researcher.

At sunset, two light beams pointing skyward were to be switched on, evoking the image of the twin towers in a reprise of a popular monthlong memorial unveiled in March 2002.

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