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Solemn Observances Mark Fifth Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

  • Robert Raffaele
  • Carolyn Weaver

Americans and others around the world marked the fifth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in ceremonies and readings. Nearly 3,000 people died in the airliner attacks in New York, at the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes crashed.

Five years later, the terrorist attacks were remembered in both sorrow and anger. At the former site of the World Trade Center, bagpipes played as firefighters remembered the fallen, and carried the American flag that flew there that day. 343 firefighters and paramedics sent to rescue the trapped were among those killed on 9/11 when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

Throughout the morning, family members read aloud the names of the more than 2700 people who perished at "Ground Zero." Some also shared personal remembrances of those they lost.

James Smith is the widower of New York City police officer, Moira Smith, who died in the collapse of the South Tower. "She'd be still protecting the people of the city she loved, defending the nation she loved, keeping it from harm,” said her husband. “And she would be raising the child she loved more than anything on earth. But most importantly, Moira would be about the business of living. She would be making us smile when we wanted to frown and laugh when we wanted to cry."

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was widely praised for his leadership on 9/11, when he rushed to the World Trade Center site to take command. He remembered the victims with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"To leave the world a better place, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition. To know that even one life has breathed easier, because you lived -- this is to have succeeded."

President and Mrs. Bush began the day by observing a moment of silence at a New York City firehouse whose firefighters were among the first to respond to the scene. Later in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, President Bush laid a wreath at a memorial honoring the 40 passengers and crewmembers of United Flight 93 -- the one hijacked plane that did not reach its target.

The president also visited the Pentagon, where 184 people died. "On this day,” said the president, “we remember the innocent who lost their lives and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live."

President Bush did not speak on the anniversary until an evening televised address.

"America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I,” he said from the Oval Office. “But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious."

Critics say the president has used 9/11 for political purposes and failed to secure the nation. The co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, said Monday their recommendations for increasing national security have not all been implemented.

"And we are enormously concerned that, five years later, some of the ones that seemed most elementary and most fundamental, haven't been done,” said Mr. Kean.

"And our view is a simple one,” added Mr. Hamilton. “It is that there is nothing, nothing, NOTHING, more important on the agenda of any policymaker than to make the people of this country more secure."

Memorials in other parts of the world including Britain and Japan also marked the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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