Holding flowers and clutching photos of their loved ones, the siblings of those lost on September 11th, 2001, recited the names of the deceased in a solemn ceremony at the site of the World Trade Center Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary of the terror attacks.
Shortly before 9 a.m., the brothers and sisters of the 2,749 victims began reading the names of those who perished when terrorists flew two hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center's twin towers, destroying the buildings.
The alphabetical list is so long that it took mourners nearly ten minutes just to get through the As.
"Peter, I would give up tomorrow for one more yesterday with you," said a sister of one of the victims, her voice breaking. "Your spirit lives in me every day, my brother," said another.
"Today again we are a city that meets in sadness," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the start of the ceremony. The mayor also made reference to those who died in the recent London subway bombings, as well as the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina.
At 8:46 a.m. a moment of silence was observed to commemorate the moment four years ago that American Airlines Flight 11 struck the Trade Center's north tower. Seventeen minutes later, another moment was observed to recall when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the south tower.
"Each life holds a unique story," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the crowd. "Each death diminishes us all."
Moments of silence were also observed at 9:59 and 10:29 — the exact times the towers fell.
"Everyone who lost someone on September 11, 2001 — all of you here today who lost a brother or sister — should know that their loved ones helped to save the spirit of our nation on the day of its greatest attack," said former mayor Rudolph Guiliani, who led the city through the dark days of 9/11.
As the list of those lost was recited, family members descended to the lowest level of the site to leave flowers in a shallow pool of water for those lost. The floor of the site is considered sacred ground by those who lost loved ones in the attacks, and this year's ceremony may mark the final time they visit that area, due to the construction that's scheduled to begin in the months ahead.
The evening's commemorative events were scheduled to include a memorial ceremony at the Veterans' Memorial Pier in Brooklyn and a candlelight vigil at Angel's Circle in Staten Island, both at 8 p.m.
The dual spotlights known as the Tribute in Light were also illuminated at sundown in memory of the twin towers.
|Take a look back at NY1's coverage of the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent anniversary events on our 9/11 Archive Page.|
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