In public ceremonies and private reflections across the nation, and
much of the world, people observed a moment of silence in remembrance of
the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on
the United States. The fifth anniversary may be the last one at the Ground
Five years after the attacks, much of the focus of the commemorations
was on New York where more than 2,700 people died when two hijacked
airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, shaking the United
States' confidence and changing the New York skyline forever.
As at the previous commemorations at Ground Zero, family members read
the names of the dead in a solemn ceremony against a sound track of somber
and patriotic music.
Dozens of religious services and commemorative events took place around
the city. At one, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that as New York rebuilds,
children must be taught more about the attack than the devastation it
"We must also share with them the beautiful memories of the loved ones
we lost and of the incredible examples of courage we witnessed on that
day," said Michael Bloomberg. "And most of all we must share with them our
hope for the future, their future. That is how we will truly honor the
memory of each of the 2,749 people we lost."
President and Mrs. Bush paid their respects on Sunday, placing a simple
wreath on one of the reflecting pools at Ground Zero. They spent part of
Monday morning at a firehouse near the site before traveling to the field
near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where 40 people died after wresting
control of hijacked plane. The Bushes then returned to Washington and
placed a wreath at the Pentagon site where a fourth hijacked plane killed
184 people upon crashing.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke during a memorial
ceremony at the Pentagon.
"We have learned that oceans do not protect us, and threats that gather
thousands of miles away can now find us here at home," said Dick Cheney.
The events of 9/11 were commemorated from coast to coast, from
religions services in metropolitan cathedrals to makeshift memorials in small towns.
In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a return to
the unity Americans experienced after the attacks.
"Let us remember the tragedy but also let us remember the triumph of
the American spirit," said Arnold Schwarzenegger. "And let us return to
the solidarity all Americans felt following those terrorist attacks."
The New York commemoration may have been the last one that will take
place in the pit of Ground Zero as rebuilding for a new World Trade Center
complex and a memorial is already under way. It is a sad prospect for
Tania Garcia who lost her sister on 9/11.
"I know that the city needs to rebuild," said Tania Garcia. "I know
that the city needs to keep up its status. I understand that people need
to move on. But for me, I will never move on when it comes to this. This
is somewhere where I will be for the rest of my life. This is a pain I
will carry with me the rest of my life."
New York's international community also marked the day. At the United
Nations, delegates observed a moment of silence. Secretary General Kofi
Annan said "the attacks cut us to the core for they were an attack on
Britain remembered 67 of its own sons and daughters who died in the New
York attack at a memorial garden in London. Americans and Russians joined
together at a memorial service in Moscow.
In Helsinki, Finland, leaders attending the 38-nation Asia-Europe
summit observed two minutes of silence, and a solemn military ceremony
took place outside of NATO's headquarters. Bells tolled in Rome and in
Germany, Pope Benedict celebrated a mass that included a prayer for world
But the leaders of a number of nations, including US allies Germany and
New Zealand, used the occasion to criticize the Bush Administration's war
on terror as did newspaper editorials in Israel and Pakistan.