Sept. 11, 5 years later: ‘We stand together’

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Moments of silence to Remember 9/11 held in N.Y., Pentagon, Boston, Shanksville

NEW YORK – The World Trade Center site fell silent four times twice each to mark jetliner crashes and the collapse of its iconic towers and solemn remembrances were held around the nation Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ground zero in lower Manhattan went quiet at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., for the impacts of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175, and again at 9:59 a.m. and 30 minutes later, when the south and north towers fell.

Family members at ground zero held up signs reading You will always be with us and Never forget, and quiet sobs could be heard as the moments of silence were observed. Some victims’ relatives crossed themselves and wiped away tears.

Five years have come, and five years have gone, and still we stand together as one, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. We come back to this place to remember the heartbreaking anniversary and each person who died here those known and unknown to us, whose absence is always with us. 

Spouses and partners of the 2,749 trade centers victims then began reading the names of the lost…

     

My love for you is eternal, said Maria Acosta, who began the annual reading of the names, including her lost boyfriend, Paul John Gill. And we all love you very much. 

Flowers and photos
Family members had begun arriving before 7 a.m. at the trade center site, some holding bouquets of roses and framed photos of their loved ones. Others wore pins bearing pictures of the victims.

I think it’s important that people remember as years go on, said Diana Kellie, of Acaconda, Mont., whose niece and niece’s fiance were killed on one of the planes. The dead are really not dead until they’re forgotten.

Firefighter Tommy King and others stood beside a fire truck with a windshield emblazoned with the names of two comrades who died on Sept. 11.

It’s just weird being back here, King said outside the World Financial Center, where he hasn’t been for five years. This building here was a morgue.

At the Pentagon, where 184 people died when American Flight 77 plowed into the building, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld walked side-by-side to a platform. They sang along to Battle Hymn of the Republic and observed a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m., the time the plane struck.

We have no intention of ignoring or appeasing history’s latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power, Cheney said.

In Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed to the ground, people arrived at a temporary memorial a 10-foot chainlink fence covered with American flags, firefighter helmets and children’s drawings.

Many of the visitors, like 15-year-old Carol Fritz, had no connection to the doomed flight.

I didn’t understand when everything happened, Carol said, crying. My kids, my grandkids are going to ask me what happened. I wanted to tell them, tell them I was here.

There were also moments of silence at 8:46 a.m. in the American and United terminals of Logan International Airport in Boston. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 took off from Logan before slamming into the towers.

Bush at firehouse
President Bush chose to pay respects from a Lower East Side firehouse, where he and a sea of firefighters and police officers silently bowed their heads at each moment of silence.

Bush stood in front of a door salvaged from a fire truck destroyed on that tragic day, a flag at half staff above him.

Bagpipes wailed, a firefighter sang Amazing Grace, a policeman sang God Bless America and a choir sang America the Beautiful. Bush and his wife, Laura, stood ramrod straight and wordless in the bright sunshine.

The Bushes visited ground zero Sunday and later Monday were to visit the two other attack sites: Shanksville, where 40 people were killed, and the Pentagon.

The president also planned an address from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. ET.

Bush said in an interview broadcast Monday that on the day the country was attacked, he came harshly to grip with the reality that we were involved in an ideological struggle akin to the Cold War.

In the long term, we’ve got to defeat an ideology of hate with an ideology of hope, he said on NBC’s Today show.

There’s a reason why people like (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden are able to recruit suiciders, Bush said, because if you don’t have hope, you’re attracted to an ideology which says, it’s OK to kill people and kill yourself.

Bush lays wreath
On Sunday, Bush marked the eve of the anniversary with somber gestures and few words: He and his wife, Laura, set wreaths in small, square reflecting pools in the pit of the trade center site, one each for where the north and south towers stood.

The Bushes had descended the long ramp from street level into ground zero accompanied by New York Gov. George Pataki, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani, hailed for his work as mayor in the months after the attack.

Later Sunday afternoon, the Bushes attended a memorial service at St. Paul’s Chapel just off ground zero, where George Washington once prayed and where exhausted rescuers sought refuge in 2001 while they dug through the trade center rubble.

At a ceremony Sunday at 7 World Trade Center, the gleaming first office tower to rise at ground zero, Pataki honored first responders and said American freedom represents the ultimate threat to terrorists.

Peter Gorman, president of the New York Uniformed Fire Officers Association, took note of the day’s vivid blue sky and said it reminded many of the late-summer morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Today is still a glorious day in the glorious city of New York, the powerful state of New York, in the United States of America, Gorman said. New Yorkers and Americans will never bow to terrorism, thanks to the U.S. military, thanks to every first responder in this country.

The anniversary dawned on a nation unrecognizable a half-decade ago at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, governed by a color-coded terror alert system, newly unable to carry even hair gel onto airplanes.

On Sunday, Bush administration officials mounted a vigorous defense of the measures they had taken to protect the country, even as the nation remains divided on the Iraq war, treatment of terror detainees and surveillance measures.

There has not been another attack on the United States, Vice President Cheney said on Meet the Press on NBC. And that’s not an accident.

And there was a fresh reminder of the terrorist threat: An hour-long videotape posted online Sunday showed previously unseen footage of Osama bin Laden, smiling, and other commanders apparently planning the New York and Washington attacks.

An unidentified narrator said the plot was devised not with computers and radar screens and military command centers but with divine protection for a brotherly atmosphere and love for sacrificing life.


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