Half a year after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, people around the city bowed their heads in remembrance Monday morning.
A citywide moment of silence was held at exactly 8:46 a.m., the time the first hijacked airliner struck the World Trade Center six months ago, and again to mark the second collision at 9:03 a.m.
In Battery Park, a steel and bronze sculpture that once sat in the plaza between the twin towers was dedicated as a temporary memorial to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives. The 45,000-pound sphere - which was built in 1971 as a monument to fostering world peace through trade - suffered deep gashes when the towers collapsed around it, but was found in the rubble mostly intact.
“The sphere may be damaged, but our beliefs that it represents have never been stronger,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who introduced the moments of silence and presided over the 25-minute dedication ceremony, which also included an invocation and remarks from Governor George Pataki, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the two sons of one of the victims.
“We cannot, under any circumstances, be deterred by the terrorists from our mission to leave for everybody from generations yet to come a place where they can raise their families, practice their religions, say what they want to say,” said the mayor. “We cannot let the terrorists ever think that they have beaten us, and we cannot let down our guard ever again. We must remember.”
Bloomberg also read a message from President George Bush that said: “America will not forget the lives that were taken, nor will it forget the justice we seek. Every civilized nation has a part in this struggle for justice and peace, because every civilized nation has a stake in its outcome. This war on terror will be judged by its finish, not by its start.”
“I realized that we won the war on terrorism that first day,” said former Mayor Giuliani, praising the example and memory of all the firefighters, police officers and other rescue personnel who died saving others. “We’re now winning the battles, but we won the war because of their bravery, their strength.”
Simultaneous with the ceremony in Battery Park, police officers from every precinct and department location gathered in front of their buildings to observe a moment of silence for their fallen colleagues. (Video: Dial-up
) A roll call of the 23 officers who died September 11 was held at each precinct.
“This and every anniversary should not be remembered for an evil act of violence, but for the goodness of these officers and their tremendous spirit as they ran without hesitation into harm's way and laid down their lives for the sake of others,” said Deputy Inspector Kevin Fitzgerald of the Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village, which lost two officers in the attacks.
The Port Authority - which built the World Trade Center after first officially recommending its construction on March 11, 1961 - also held a moment of silence at its New York and New Jersey facilities in honor of its 75 employees who were killed. Flags at all of the facilities will fly at half-staff throughout the day.
Work paused briefly at the World Trade Center site Monday morning for the remembrance. In the six months since the attack, 1.5 million tons of rubble have been removed, as bodies are still recovered seven stories below the ground. With work moving at a pace much quicker than originally estimated, the remaining 1.7 tons of wreckage are expected to be removed by mid-summer.
The remembrances in the city continued at dusk Monday when two columns of light were illuminated adjacent to the trade center site, forming a likeness of the twin towers that can be seen for miles. More than 80 lights will be used to form the “Tribute in Light” each night until April 13.
Stressing the importance of the war on terrorism, President Bush led a solemn ceremony on the South Lawn of the White attended by nearly 1,300 people, including hundreds of victims' family members, members of Congress and over 150 ambassadors from around the world. (Video: Dial-up
“There can be no peace in the world where differences and grievances become an excuse to target the innocent for murder," Bush said. "Against such an enemy, there is no immunity, and there can be no neutrality."
Employees at the Pentagon marked the six-month anniversary of the attack on the nation’s military headquarters, which killed 189 people. (Video: Dial-up
) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with military representatives of the 30 nations that have fought with the U.S. in Afghanistan.
The representatives also took a a tour of the reconstruction of the damaged complex, which is more than half finished and scheduled to be completed before the one-year anniversary of the attacks in September.
In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the site of the crash of the fourth hijacked airliner September 11, a church bell tolled and a candle was lit as each of the names of the 40 crewmembers and passengers who died were read aloud. (Video: Dial-up
) A moment of silence was also observed, and a bronze plaque was installed as a temporary memorial at the crash site.
Elsewhere in the world, police officers and firefighters from New York climbed to the top of Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia to salute an American flag raised in honor of the anniversary. (Video: Dial-up
) A moment of silence was observed, and a memorial service was also held for the victims of the terror attacks, which included 15 Australians.
The 26 emergency workers, who all participated in the rescue effort at the World Trade Center, were invited to a free weeklong vacation as guests of the New South Wales Tourist Board.
In London, Vice President Dick Cheney, beginning a 10-day foreign tour to drum up support to broaden the war against terror, commemorated the attacks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Video: Dial-up
Also in London, photographs from the World Trade Center site are now on display as part of a visiting exhibition from the Museum of the City of New York called "After September 11: Images from Ground Zero.”
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NY1 will air live coverage of the remembrances throughout the day, wrapping up at 8 p.m. with a special two-hour edition of “New York Tonight”, New York's only nightly newscast dedicated to the city's rebuilding.