NEW YORK – The defiant twin beams of light that rose skyward last year from the site of the collapsed World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan will return this Sept. 11 and every successive anniversary of the terror attacks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (search) announced Monday.
The mayor also said that children would take center stage in the city's second annual memorial at the solemn site.
In what is certain to be a heart-tugging ceremony, 100 pairs of kids who lost relatives at the Twin Towers will recite the names of the 2,792 victims. Each child will read about 14 names.
As the names are announced, family members will be permitted to descend down a ramp to the lowest level of the site to lay flowers.
A canvas made by the children who lost loved ones — "Art for Heart" — will be on display.
"Our intent is to hold a ceremony that is simple and powerful and that honors the memory of those lost, so we can remember and reflect," Bloomberg said.
"We plan to mark this anniversary as a day of remembrance and pride, but equally on a day in which we turn toward the future," he added. "In keeping with that, we will ask our children to take the lead in the ceremony."
The ceremony will pause four times — twice to mark the times each plane struck the Twin Towers, and twice to mark the times when each of the 110-story structures collapsed.
Houses of worship are also being asked to toll their bells at precisely 8:46 a.m., the moment the first plane struck.
At sundown, the "Tribute of Light," which served as a symbol of hope for a month last year, will return for one night. Bloomberg said the powerful arc lights would also be turned on every successive Sept. 11.
So far, only four elected officials have been scheduled to deliver remarks: Bloomberg, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (search), New York state Gov. George Pataki (search) and New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey (search).
Although Bloomberg and Pataki have been feuding over a $2.5 billion aid package for the city, officials said their offices were working together on the memorial ceremony and would collectively select the children who will participate.
"They'll be in the same spirit as last year," Jennifer Falk, a mayoral spokeswoman, said of the readings. "They might be expanded with appropriate literary selections."
The first-anniversary commemoration included readings of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, FDR's "Four Freedoms" speech and the Declaration of Independence.
The public will be admitted to the ceremony, but only on a space-available basis after the victims' families have been accommodated.
Private donations were being solicited through the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City to cover the cost. In 2002, when nighttime memorials were held in each borough, the bill was estimated at about $9 million.
The list of names to be read has been shortened after the death toll was revised from 2,801 to 2,792.