Silence haunts New York's canyons of death
THOUSANDS of New Yorkers fell silent in the streets around Ground Zero as the national anthem echoed through the deep canyons of downtown.
Though they could not follow the ceremony at the site, and surrounding city blocks were barred to the public, they came anyway to wave flags and talk and applaud and share their memories of a decade ago.
Presidents past and present remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Photo: AP
Many family members were let through the heavily policed checkpoints to attend the ceremony.
Susie Beck was there to remember her brother Erwin, his face stamped on a badge on her chest; other families carried posters and pictures of their lost. He had been working on the 97th floor of the north tower.
She came, as she comes every year on this day. ''This is his final resting place,'' she said. ''Every year is just like day one all over again. I don't really sleep the night before. You move on but you never forget. It's really hard to believe it is 10 years later.''
New Yorkers mourn the loss of loved ones. Photo: AP
St Paul's chapel, next to the World Trade Centre site, was a hub for thousands of rescue workers in 2001, offering food and support in the dark days after the attack.
Inside a vivacious choirmaster led a modest congregation in Kyrie Eleison, at a Mass for Peace.
The reading was from the gospel according to Matthew, ''love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you''. In a provocative sermon, Reverend Katherine Schori said they were gathered ''to remember those who died violently, lives lost, families devastated and hopes dashed''. But she challenged her flock to forgive, to ''pray for those who perpetrated the violence of September 11'' and to ''pray for the torturers and terrorists among us''.
Laura and George Bush accompany their successors, Michelle and Barack Obama, next to the reflective pools at the World Trade Centre site. Photo: AP
Inside the ceremony New York mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the first moment of silence, marking the moment the first plane hit the tower.
''We can never unsee what happened here,'' he said.
A chime called for the moment of silence, then President Barack Obama delivered a reading ''God is our refuge and strength''.
New Yorkers remember September 11 attacks
US President Barack Obama runs his hand along the names of victims as former President George W. Bush, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama look on at the site of the World Trade Centre twin towers. Photo: AP
It was time for the long, tragic list of the 9/11 victims to begin.
One by one family members read out the names of the lost.
Some spoke in ringing tones, others tearful and distraught. Some named ''my father'' or ''my brother''. Some added short messages, telling the dead they would be proud of their growing family, or that their sparkling smile was missed every day.
After the second minute of silence, marking the impact of the second plane, President George W. Bush (greeted by cheers) quoted a letter from Abraham Lincoln to a war widow.
Then Peter Negron told of missing his dad. He was 13 when the towers fell. He misses growing up with his father, of talking to him about their shared passions.
Then the names, the long list of the lost, continued on.