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'Prayer for America' Unites New Yorkers


Families of victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center were joined by tens of thousands of other New Yorkers at Yankee Stadium Sunday for a prayer service to honor the dead and missing. Clergy of many religions participated in the service, which also became a show of unity for New York.

Throughout the American flag-bedecked stadium, family and friends, widows and children, held photographs of those missing or lost. Some also waved banners with messages like "Pray Today. Fight Tomorrow."

The inter-faith service, called a "Prayer for America," was simulcast to crowds of thousands more gathered in several other sports arenas across New York City and in neighboring Newark, New Jersey.

Well-known personalities such as talk show star Oprah Winfrey and opera singer Placido Domingo participated in the ceremony, along with religious leaders and representatives of the city's emergency services.

But the loudest applause of the day was for New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has earned the title "America's Mayor" in the days since the attack, because of his non-stop work leading the recovery effort.

"On September 11 New York City suffered the darkest day in our history," he said. "It is now up to us to make it its finest hour. Today we come together in the capitol of the world as a united city. We are accompanied by religious leaders of every faith to offer a prayer for the families of those who have been lost, to offer a prayer for our city and to offer a prayer for America. The proud twin towers that once crowned our famous skyline no longer stand. But our skyline will rise again."

Thousands of bouquets of flowers lined the stadium's baseball field, transforming it into a memorial site with a centerpiece of flowers in red, white and blue.

More than 6,000 people are missing, and the bitter reality that there is little chance of finding any alive has set in during the last few days.

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