America mourns Sept 11 dead with sombre ceremonies

NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – Children yearned for lost  parents and grown men and women sobbed in raw grief on the hard  stone bearing the names of nearly 3,000 dead as America  commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The name of every person killed in al Qaeda’s hijacked  plane attacks was read yesterday in the nearly five-hour-long  centerpiece of a heart-wrenching ceremony where the World Trade  Center twin towers stood.

A woman mourns the loss of her son at the World Trade Center Memorial during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in New York yesterday. REUTERS/Carolyn Cole/Pool

“I haven’t stopped missing my Dad. He was awesome,” said  Peter Negron, a child when his father, Pete, was killed in one  of the towers. “I wish my Dad had been there to teach me how to  drive, ask a girl out on a date and see me graduate from high  school and a hundred other things I can’t even begin to name.”

There were smaller ceremonies in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,  and at the Pentagon, the other sites were 19 men from the  Islamic militant group al Qaeda crashed hijacked airliners on  the sunny Tuesday morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
The attacks led U.S. forces to invade Afghanistan to topple  the Taliban rulers who had harbored al Qaeda leader Osama bin  Laden and Washington began a “war on terror” that ousted Iraq’s  Saddam Hussein and persists on several fronts to this day.

“Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning  turned into the blackest of nights,” New York Mayor Michael  Bloomberg said at New York’s Ground Zero.

“Since then, we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadow, and  although we can never unsee what happened here, we can also see  that children who lost their parents have grown into young  adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public  service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.”

Thousands gathered at the site on a clear morning to  grieve. With security tight and no traffic, there was an eerie  silence where the 110-story skyscrapers collapsed a decade ago,  sending a noxious cloud over lower Manhattan.
President Barack Obama, who visited all three attack  sites, read from Psalm 46 in New York: “God is our refuge and  strength.”

RUBBING NAMES

The flag that flew over the World Trade Center on 9/11 is seen during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in New York yesterday. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The ceremony — with the wail of bagpipes, youthful voices  singing the national anthem and firefighters holding aloft a  tattered American flag retrieved from Ground Zero — drew  tears. Family members wore T-shirts with the faces of the dead,  carried photos, flowers and flags in an outpouring of emotion.

For the first time, relatives saw the just-finished  memorial and touched the stone where the names of their dead  loved ones were etched. Some left flowers, others small teddy  bears. Some used pencils to rub the names on paper, some took  pictures, others leaned against the stone and cried.

The names of the dead were read by wives and husbands,  fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children, some choked  with emotion.

“May your soul finally rest in peace. Your son Nathan and  I, as the years go by, grow strong. Goodbye, my dear friend, my  teacher and my hero,” said Candy Glazer.

Glazer’s husband, Edmund Glazer, cheerfully called his wife  from Flight 11 not long before he died when the plane hit the  north tower — the first of that day’s horrific events.

Nicholas Gorki, 9, had these words for the father he never  met, Sebastian Gorki, who died at the World Trade Center while  his wife was still pregnant: “You gave me the gift of life and  I wish you could be here to enjoy it with me.”

The Sept. 11 attacks claimed the lives of people from more  than 90 countries. They were followed by al Qaeda bombing  assaults in London, Madrid and elsewhere and brought an  international campaign to ferret out their members.

“God bless every soul that we lost,” said former New York  City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was called “America’s mayor”  for his leadership after the attacks.

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