|A woman cries as she hugs a boy at Ground Zero in New York. (AFP)
New York, Sept. 11 (Reuters): Bells rang across New York and moments of silence were observed today to remember the 2,792 people killed at the World Trade Center on September 11 two years ago, when hijacked planes destroyed the 110-storey twin towers.
Thousands of victims’ relatives, some holding flowers and portraits of their loved ones, took part in an almost four-hour-long solemn ceremony at the site.
Some wore T-shirts imprinted with portraits of the dead, police and firefighters wore dress uniforms, bagpipes were played and many were tearful.
In Washington, the state department urged US citizens overseas to take special caution on the anniversary, citing growing indications the militant al Qaida movement, blamed for the September 11 attacks, was planning even bigger attacks.
At the World Trade Center site in New York the children of those who died read out the names of the dead in an emotional ceremony that left many family members wracked with tears. The children reading the names stood at a dais two-by-two, some wearing suits but most dressed casually, and read out the names, sometimes stumbling over pronunciation, each sequence ending with a child reading out the name of their dead mother, father, uncle, bother or other relation.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg began the ceremony saying that the children carried “both our deepest memories and the bright promise of tomorrow.”
Bells rang at 1246 GMT to mark the moment when the first plane hit one tower and then again at 1303 GMT, when the second hijacked airliner crashed into the other tower. In Washington, President George W. Bush attended a church service of remembrance and prayers for the victims of the New York attacks and of the simultaneous crash of two other hijacked planes — one into the Pentagon and the other into a field in Pennsylvania.
“We remember lives lost. We remember the heroic deeds. We remember the compassion, the decency of our fellow citizens on that terrible day,” Bush said after a service near the White House.
“We pray for the husbands and wives, the moms and dads, and the sons and daughters and loved ones ... we pray for strength and wisdom.”
At the New York ceremony, Phil Rosenblatt, who lost his sister Muriel Siskopolous, said he came to be closer to her. “I feel like when I am here she is here with me too. The pain never goes away. This is the place we have to be.”