Published September 12, 2002
NEW YORK – President Bush joined the nation Wednesday in remembering "a year of sorrow, of empty places" since the terrorist attacks that killed thousands and drew America into war. He vowed victory over "history's latest gang of fanatics."
In a nationally televised address, Bush said, "We will not relent until justice is done and our nation is secured. What our enemies have begun, we will finish."
The Statue of Liberty and a forever-altered skyline were at his back as the president spoke from Ellis Island, the first stop for millions of immigrants and a symbol of American tolerance and independence. "Now and in the future, Americans will live as free people, not in fear, and never at the mercy of any foreign plot or power," Bush said.
"This nation has defeated tyrants, liberated death camps and raised this lamp of liberty to every captive land," Bush said. "We have no intention of ignoring or appeasing history's latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power. They are discovering, as others before them, the resolve of a great democracy."
One year to the day the nation changed forever, Americans paused on Wednesday to remember the unforgettable ... and to imagine a world where the unimaginable will never happen again.
From New York to Washington to tiny Shanksville, Pa. ... from New Zealand and Australia to London and Rome and Paris ... ceremonies were held throughout the world to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in the United States and set the course for America's war on terror.
"They were our neighbors, our husbands, our children, our sisters, our brothers and our wives. They were our countrymen and our friends. They were us," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, describing not only the 2,801 people who died at the World Trade Center, but the 184 who died at the Pentagon and the 40 who perished in a field in Pennsylvania as well.
Bush visited the three sites where hijacked airliners crashed last year, attending ceremonies at the Pentagon and outside Shanksville before arriving in the late afternoon in New York, where he and first lady Laura Bush walked down the seven-story ramp to the cavernous pit that once was the trade center.
The president laid a wreath for the 2,801 people who died when the Twin Towers came crashing to the ground, and then he shook hands and spoke with many of the victims’ loved ones and family members who had been gathered at Ground Zero since early in the morning. At 9 p.m. EDT, Bush was to address the nation in a speech from Ellis Island.
In Battery Park City, dignitaries -- including United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Secretary of State Colin Powell -- joined the mayor to light an eternal flame.
Crowds gathered in each of New York's five boroughs to light candles at dusk and sing "America the Beautiful."
The day of remembrance had begun in New York almost a full day earlier, shortly after midnight, as five processions of bagpipers began marching toward downtown Manhattan, snaking through the streets of New York City's five boroughs to the applause of hundreds of flag-waving spectators.
At 7 a.m. EDT, thousands of family members and relatives of the people who died there began walking down the ramp to Ground Zero. Countless thousands observed the procession from the streets above, despite a heightened nationwide "orange" terror alert that was declared on Tuesday.
At 8:46 a.m. EDT, the precise moment that terrorists smashed a hijacked airliner into the north tower of the World Trade Center, the city that never sleeps became eerily quiet as its residents and visitors observed a moment of silence in memory of the 2,801 people who died there.
Fifty-one minutes later, at 9:37 a.m., a similar moment of silence was observed at the Pentagon for the 184 people who were killed when another hijacked airliner smashed into the massive five-sided building.
And in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania, thousands stood silently as a bell tolled for each of the 40 passengers and crew who died when a small group of heroes attacked the terrorists who intended to crash yet another hijacked airliner into the White House or the Capitol.
"One year ago, men and women and children were killed here," Bush said at the Pentagon ceremony, "because they were Americans and because this place is a symbol to the world of our country's might and resolve.
"Today," he said, "we remember each life....
"Though they died in tragedy, they did not die in vain," Bush declared, a fist clenched for emphasis. "As long as terrorists and dictators plot against our lives and our liberty, they will be opposed by the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines!"
In downtown Manhattan, the mourners carried roses and placed them around a "circle of honor" in the center of the gaping hole in the earth where the 110-story Twin Towers once stood.
Gov. George Pataki read Abraham Lincoln’s stirring Gettysburg Address, and then former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began reading the names of the 2,801 people who perished at Ground Zero:
"Gordon M. Aamoth Jr.; Edelmiro Abad; Maria Rose Abad; Andrew Anthony Abate ..."
As the mournful tones of classical music played quietly in the background, family members of the dead -- and notables such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, Powell and actor Robert De Niro -- picked up the list where Giuliani left off.
Onlookers hugged and cried throughout the recitation. Some clutched or wore pictures of the dead.
At 9:03 a.m., the moment the south tower was struck, the ringing of a bell interrupted the recitation of names.
A second moment of silence was observed at 10:28 a.m., when the second tower fell, and then church bells were rung throughout the city. The reading of the names, only slightly more than half completed, continued after the pause.
It wasn't until 11:22 a.m., after more than 2 1/2 hours, that the 195th and 196th people to recite the names reached No. 2801 -- Igor Zukelman.
"May God bless the victims, we love you all. May God bless America," they said in unison.
Then a bugler played Taps, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy read the Declaration of Independence, and a mournful, string rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner was played.
At the Pentagon, a similar memorial took place, as the names of the people who died there were read aloud following a moment of silence.
The president and Defense Secretary Ronald H. Rumsfeld unfurled a massive American flag. Then, after a moment of silence, the National Anthem was sung, and a group of schoolchildren recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Rumsfeld and finally President Bush then addressed the audience.
Earlier, grim-faced and gripping the first lady’s hand, the president had prayed at the yellow-steepled St. John's Church in Washington, where presidential aides fled just minutes after the White House was evacuated a year ago.
At the Pentagon, the remembrances and changes prompted by last Sept. 11 were boldly on display.
Hundreds streamed off the subway and were handed small American flags as they headed to a ceremony at the rebuilt section of the five-sided military headquarters where a hijacked jet crashed into flames.
"It's all pretty and everything but the thoughts are still there. It will never erase what we saw last year. That picture is etched in your brain," said Melonise Wills, an Army hospital worker who aided Pentagon victims.
Soldiers in helmets and full battle gear were posted at extra locations around entrances to the building, as were Humvees with soldiers and mounted machine guns.
A cascade of memorial events around the globe marked a moment whose echoes still resound from New York to Afghanistan, and everywhere in between -- a moment that even a year later left many transfixed by the horror, burdened by sadness, plagued by fears.
The anniversary of the attacks that leveled the World Trade Center, cratered the Pentagon and brought death to the Pennsylvania countryside began far away from those places -- in New Zealand, with the first line of the Requiem Mozart finished in his dying days.
"Requiem aeternam dona ets, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ets," sang the Orlando Singers Chamber Choir at St. Luke's Presbyterian Church in Rumuera: "Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them."
Choirs in 20 time zones around the world were to sing those words, each of them beginning at 8:46 a.m., local time -- the instant when American Airlines Flight 11, its controls taken by murderers, sliced through a crystalline blue sky to demolish the Trade Center's north tower.
At points around the globe, the anniversary of the attacks was marked with public events and private reflection. In Australia, 3,000 people in red-white-and-blue clothes assembled on a beach to make a human flag. In Paris, two powerful beams of light were projected into the sky.
A Mass for firefighters was held in a Rome basilica, and Pope John Paul II dedicated his weekly audience to the attacks. "No situation of hurt, no philosophy or religion can ever justify such a grave offense on human life and dignity," he said.
But while the focus was on the places that suffered the most, ceremonies marking Sept. 11 -- prayer, the tolling of bells, candlelight vigils, releases of doves and balloons, riderless horses, flags at half-staff, moments of silence and others of music -- were everywhere.
On the sprawling statehouse lawn in Columbus, Ohio, 2,999 American flags and one Ohio flag were arranged to depict the Twin Towers. In San Francisco's Washington Square, more than 3,000 flags flew, including those of 14 other countries whose citizens were among the victims.
At Boston's Logan International Airport, where the two planes that struck the trade center took off, all ground operations stopped at 8:46 a.m.
At the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nev., dealers held their cards and security guards stood silent, their hands folded. Cocktail servers paused, drinks on their trays.
At Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame, The Star-Spangled Banner was played on a steel guitar, and Connie Smith sang Amazing Grace after a moment of silence and a color guard presentation by police officers and firefighters.
In Phoenix, 100 people joined hands before sunrise and stood near a downtown intersection, facing east. They listened on a cell phone to New Yorkers singing "God Bless America."
In Montgomery, Ala., at E.D. Nixon Elementary School, sixth graders and their teachers baked cookies to bring to their local firefighters. It was their idea, said principal Terese Goodson: "They just wanted to do something."
Fifteen percent of American businesses had planned to give their employees red-white-and-blue ribbons or pins for the day, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management; about a third said they would observe a moment of silence on Wednesday. Just 4 percent said they would give their workers the day off with pay.
The Nasdaq stock exchange delayed its opening until 11 a.m., and the New York Stock Exchange didn't open until noon, when the Ground Zero ceremonies were completed.
Telemarketers hung up their phones. Said Perry Young, head of a calling center in Omaha: "If I received a call at home on that day from somebody trying to sell me something, I would be personally offended." As they did a year ago, television networks struck everything else from their schedules.
Some airlines -- still struggling to regain passenger traffic they lost a year ago -- scaled back their schedules, as travelers avoided the skies on this day.
For the loved ones of those who died on this day, Sept. 11 was almost more than they could bear. In New York, 17-year-old Marianne Keane took a moment during the recitation of names to say a few words about her stepfather, Franco Lalama, an engineer for New York's Port Authority who died at the trade center.
"I would give anything to go back to the morning of Sept. 11 and tell him how much I appreciated everything he's done for me," she said. "But I think he knows that now. In my eyes he died a hero. And how much more could you ask for?"
But other survivors kept their distance from an anniversary of heartache.
Barbara Minervino of Middletown, N.J., planned to attend a private Mass along with others from that town, which lost dozens of its people at the World Trade Center. Louis Minervino was at his 98th floor office in Tower One when the first jet hit.
But she had no intention of going to lower Manhattan on Wednesday. She would do the laundry, go to the beach with her two daughters, make dinner -- her husband's favorite, lasagna. She wanted to honor his life, not his death.
"We are in our new normalcy," she said. "It's not the normalcy we had before. We're without our loved ones. It certainly will never be the normalcy we had on Sept. 10."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.