Poland Honors Plane Crash Dead With New Memorial

WARSAW, Poland -- Sirens wailed and a military band played Poland's national anthem as the country on Wednesday inaugurated a new memorial to the late president and 95 others killed in a plane crash earlier this year.

The inauguration at Warsaw's Powazki military cemetery came seven months after the April 10 plane crash in Russia that killed President Lech Kaczynski and many other prominent political and military figures.

New President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk gathered with relatives of those killed at the new memorial -- two huge granite slabs that look like airplane wings entering the earth.

The ceremony began at 8:41 a.m. local time, the exact time of the plane crash.

"It's been seven months since the tragedy, loss and pain was inflicted on the whole of Poland, the entire nation," Komorowski said. "It was a piercing pain for all of us, but especially for the families, the relatives of those who died in the plane crash near Smolensk."

Recalling the special feeling of national unity after the crash, Komorowski called on the country to recapture that spirit.

"I would like it to be the same today, that those who lost loved ones feel that we are close to them," he said.

The late leader's twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski -- who is also the opposition leader -- attended separate observances, only after the official ceremony had ended.

He placed flowers in front of the presidential palace, attended a Roman Catholic Mass and also placed a wreath at the new memorial.

Kaczynski has harshly criticized the government, and accused the prime minister of bearing some responsibility for the plane crash. He has argued that the government did not do enough to ensure the safety of the flight carrying his brother, an accusation the government has rejected.