Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Terror Victims Mourned Three Months Later

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In conjunction with ceremonies around the world, a memorial service was held at the site of the World Trade Center Tuesday morning, three months since hijacked airliners killed thousands of people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The interfaith prayer service took place at 8:46 a.m., the exact time the first plane slammed into the twin towers on September 11. Prayers were offered by members of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy, and Broadway star William Michals sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

"They took down our towers but they will not take away our tradition," said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, a Fire Department chaplain. "They took down those structures, but they will not take away this spirit.

"I came here today with a stone from my parents' grave to place at 'ground zero.' My parents lost seven children in the Holocaust. They taught me that the greatest challenge in life was to begin life again. So this year, for our holidays, we will begin to light again, we will begin to love again."

As the heavy machinery at the site halted, firefighters and other rescue workers bowed their heads in remembrance. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governor George Pataki were among the dignitaries taking part.

At the request of President George Bush, the national anthem was played simultaneously across the country and at embassies worldwide at 8:46. A trumpeter somberly played the notes at the World Trade Center site.

Some 80 other nations also played their anthems to honor their citizens who died in the September 11 attacks.

The international mourning also reached into space, as the American and Russian crews of the space shuttle Endeavor and the international space station joined the commemoration.

At a ceremony at the White House, President Bush vowed to "right this huge wrong."

"Every one of the innocents who died September 11 was the most important person on Earth to somebody," said Bush, flanked by families of some of the victims and standing in front of a parade of flags of all the nations that lost citizens in the attacks. "Every death extinguished a world."

The president said the monuments and memorials that will one day be built won't be needed to remember the tragedy. "For those of us who lived through these events," he said, "the only marker we'll ever need is the tick of a clock on the 46th minute on the 8th hour of the 11th day. We'll remember where we were and how we felt. We'll remember the dead and what we owe them. We'll remember what we lost and what we found.''

A separate ceremony took place at the Pentagon at 9:38 a.m., the moment terrorists piloted another plane into the nation's military headquarters.

"Three months ago today, at this hour, in this place, some 184 people died," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "They died because they were Americans - sons and daughters of the land of liberty."

Earlier in the day, a huge American flag was raised where the wing of the Pentagon destroyed in the attack is being rebuilt. Rumsfeld has promised the round-the-clock construction will allow some of the office space to be reoccupied by next September 11.

In all, 3,045 people are presumed to have died in the World Trade Center attack, according to the city's latest tally. The medical examiner says 495 bodies have been recovered and identified and 1,976 additional death certificates have been issued, leaving 574 people listed as missing.

More than 700,000 tons of wreckage from the collapsed towers have been removed during the continuous recovery process. The entire area where the south tower once stood is now a just a gaping hole in the ground, with most of remaining rubble now in the underground floors of the complex.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, a special edition of "NY1 Tonight" will be broadcast live from the World Trade Center site. We'll bring you a complete wrap-up of all the day's events as the city marks three months since the tragedy.

There will also be interviews with Port Authority police officer David Lim, who was pulled from the rubble hours after the attack, and with the head of the Red Cross in New York.

As always, the audio portion of the broadcast is available on the Internet, via's Live Audio Stream. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP