View Full Version : With Pain Still Lingering, 9/11 Victims Honored

September 11th, 2005, 06:25 PM
September 11, 2005
With Pain Still Lingering, 9/11 Victims Honored

The country marked the four-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks today in familiar ways - the readings of long lists of the victims, the black bands worn across shined badges, the framed portraits of loved ones - all while facing its latest tragedy, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

It was a day of grief remembered against a backdrop of new loss. It was all but impossible to isolate one event from the other, the country's greatest catastrophe in memory and the one that came before it. From a ceremony at ground zero to a worship service in Washington, speakers paused to mention the hurricane's victims, while rescue workers slogging through New Orleans observed moments of silence for their fallen colleagues now four years gone.

A few blocks from where hijackers slammed jetliners into the two towers of the World Trade Center, a rudimentary collection jar - a cardboard box with a slit cut into the top - on the countertop of a deli asked for donations; they were not intended for Lower Manhattan, but for the Hurricane Katrina survivors, and a sign promised that "Fancy Food will match every dollar you give."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in his short address at ground zero, alluded to the deadly storm, as well as the July 11 terrorist bombings in London. "Today, as we recite the names of those we lost, our hearts turn as well toward London, our sister city, remembering those she has just lost as well. And to Americans suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our deepest sympathies go out to you this day."

New York Gov. George Pataki, New Jersey Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani also made remarks at the ceremony, which lasted more than four hours under a bright, sunny sky.

In Washington D.C., where 189 people were killed when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, President Bush and Laura Bush attended a morning service at St. Johns Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square., along with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne. The Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, quoting Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" in his sermon, spoke of becoming strong again in broken places, namely New York and New Orleans.

Later the Bushes and the Cheneys held their hands over their hearts as they observed a moment of silence on the South Lawn.

In Shanksville, Pa.., where a fourth airliner crashed after passengers stormed the hijackers in the cockpit, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said, "They were innocent lives taken by incredible evil."

In New York, firefighters and police officers gathered outside their firehouses and precinct houses at 8:46 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower, to read the names of the fallen. This year, 300 officers marked the anniversary in New Orleans, where they have helped patrol the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods in the past week.

A group of officers lined up outside a makeshift headquarters in Harahan, La., and read the names of the fallen police officers from Sept. 11.

"We said we'd never forget," said Inspector Michael V. Quinn. "What we showed here today is that we still remember those who lost their lives on September 11th."

Hard work eased the pain of the day. Officer Joseph Stynes, who works in the Bronx Anti-Crime unit in New York, said he was so busy working that thoughts of the anniversary had not occurred to him until the ceremony took place. "I was thinking about things down here, more so, than what happened there," he said.

Elsewhere in New Orleans, about 50 emergency management and military personnel participated in a brief but emotional ceremony at City Hall, where generators run the limited power supply and scores of people spend each night on cots or the floor.

John Paczkowski, the emergency management director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, presented Col. Terry J. Ebbert, head of homeland security for New Orleans, with a flag depicting abstract images of the twin towers and the American flag.

"We can't imagine the level of devastation that has hit your city," said Mr. Paczkowski, who escaped from 1 World Trade Center minutes before the building collapsed.

To be sure, the anniversary ceremonies maintained the same focus of remembrance as in years past. Ground zero became an island of emotion separate from the rest of the world - at least for more than four hours. Listening to the hypnotic rhythm of first, middle, and last names read from podiums near the pit, it seemed at times impossible that four years had passed, as voice after voice cracked with emotion.

For the first time, siblings of the victims read the names, a new face of pain; parents and children have read in past years. They threaded personal remarks among the names: "I miss talking with you. I miss laughing with you." "Shake it easy, Sal." "We miss you, bro. Be safe." "Help Katrina hurricane victims also."

Many of the family members wore T-shirts, buttons or signs with their relative's picture on it. A few American flags sprinkled throughout the crowd, but most family members just wore the gold and white ribbons city officials gave them at check in.

The family of Manuel DeValle Jr., a firefighter, gathered his framed photograph and their FDNY shirts that bear his name and made their way first to Woodlawn Cemetery, which opens early on Sept. 11 for family members, and then hurried toward ground zero on the subway to get there before 8:46 a.m. A cousin, Marisol Torres, 39, wore a sheen of dust from the cemetery on her black shoes.

"I think it becomes more of a ritual, but your feelings don't go away," she said. "It's still fresh. It's still raw."

Jessica Correa, 21, lost her brother Danny, 25, who was an intern at Marsh & McLennan and was finishing his bachelor's degree at Berkeley College in Paramus, N.J. "He was just getting started," she said. "He could have been the brightest star."

Mr. Correa had a daughter named Katrina, who is now about 7 years old, but the little girl and her mother are estranged from the Correa family. When the family heard of the news of the hurricane's devastation, there was a wave of dizzying emotions.

"It was just really, really strange," Ms. Correa said. "It comes so close to September 11, and there's a hurricane named after her. It brought back so much. The posting of the names, people looking for their families, children looking for their parents. Whether it's hatred or whether it's a natural disaster, there's still lives destroyed."

Brother David Schlatter, a Franciscan friar from Wilmington, Del., stood at the corner of Cortlandt and Church Streets and rang a 5,000-pound brass bell mounted on a trailer, once for each victim of the attacks. "Throughout the centuries, humanity has used bells for special moments," he said. "It resonates deeply with the human spirit."

Five cooks from the Millennium Hilton across from Ground Zero stepped outside in their white uniforms to pay tribute to their 75 lost colleagues from the Windows of the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. "Including my best friend," said Musleh Ahmed, 46.

This afternoon, more than 200 bands in 20 parks - including Central Park, Union Square and Washington Square - played what was collectively called the September Concert, intended to, in the words of an organizer, Robert Varkovy, 43, "celebrate universal humanity and fill the sky with music instead of tears."

Remembering the day was different for some this year in another way, with enlargements and shifts in emphasis. When the city released thousands of interviews with police officers, firefighters and rescue workers in August, some family members of the deceased learned for the first time how they died. Meanwhile, controversy and heated emotions continued to swirl around what will become of the World Trade Center site, from the design of the building - revamped in June for security purposes - to the placement of memorials.

Memorial services were also held in unexpected places around the world.

In Keshcarrigan, Ireland, more than 200 people marched behind local firemen and a bagpipe band to unveil a stone bench and plaque on a lakeshore, dedicated to the Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the Catholic priest and Fire Department chaplain who was among the first responders to die.

Father Judge's father, who died when the chaplain was a young boy, lived at the site by the lake before he emigrated to the United States in 1926, so Mychal felt a particular attachment to the place, family friends said. A cook rose early to start spit-roasting an enormous 130-pound pig in the backyard of Gerty's Pub, to feed the crowd after the formalities.

"He'd love all the fuss," said Liam Coleman, a lieutenant with the New York fire department, vacationing in Ireland. "He didn't mind the spotlight at all."

In Kenya, a country hit twice by Qaeda bombers, a memorial service was held in Nairobi. Ben Ole Koissaba complained that the United States has yet to collect the 14 cows that the Masai donated to the country in 2002. "If they aren't going to accept the gift, they should be checking the animals from time to time, or they should give them back," he said.

At Ground Zero, Chris Burke, the founder and chief executive officer of Tuesday's Children, which provides counseling and assistance to children who lost parents in the attack, and who himself lost a brother, Thomas, said this anniversary was different for another reason.

"This year, for the first time, there is laughter and smiles through the tears," he said. "The realities have sunk in. This is time you decide whether you will mire yourself in 9/11 or if you will live and go on with the rest of your life. That's what my brother would have wanted. That's what every brother would have wanted."

He motioned to one of the white tents where the siblings gathered as they waited to recite their names. "People are telling stories in there," he said. "That hasn't really happened before. This should be an affirmation of life."

Jennifer Medina and Colin Moynahan contributed reporting from New York for this article;Al Baker and William Yardley contributed from New Orleans,Brian Lavery from Keshcarrigan, Ireland, and Marc Lacey from Nairobi, Kenya.

September 11th, 2005, 06:53 PM
I was for about an hour at 2 pm. Only families were allowed to attend the ceremony, the rest were watching across the West Street. Many people, but not a huge crowd.

For the first time, siblings of the victims read the names, a new face of pain; parents and children have read in past years.




September 11th, 2005, 08:02 PM
Yes, once again the ceremony was designed to exclude anyone but the only people who were truly impacted. I hope it's the last year this is televised. The sooner it becomes a construction site, prohibiting these people from getting in harms way - the better.

On the one hand, I understand their loss. On the other, the continuation of this "Victims Are Us" event just emboldens these self-centered cultural fascists to further destroy downtown's recovery.

Wanna take bets now on whether the new PUBLIC memorial will be closed to the public on the exact date it commemorates?

(Shouldn't expect too much flaming on this, huh?)

September 11th, 2005, 08:43 PM
^ BR - Time to take that asbestos coat out of summer storage!

September 12th, 2005, 01:08 AM
I watched my boyfriend's father and aunt read the names this morning. I'm glad to see they skipped the photo-on-shirt trend, but sorry to see they didn't hop on the peace train. I do have to love that New Yorkers make this policitical, and I'm not even being facetious.

September 12th, 2005, 10:49 PM
In the pit at Ground Zero. 11 September 2005.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/wtc/ground_zero_11sept05.jpg (http://wirednewyork.com/wtc/ground-zero-11-september-2005/)

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/wtc/ground_zero_wtc_11sept05.jpg (http://wirednewyork.com/wtc/ground-zero-11-september-2005/)

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/wtc/ground_zero_pit.jpg (http://wirednewyork.com/wtc/ground-zero-11-september-2005/)

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/wtc/ground_zero_ramp.jpg (http://wirednewyork.com/wtc/ground-zero-11-september-2005/)