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Somber Observance Marks First Anniversary of World Trade Center Attack - 2002-09-11


New York City marked the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center with a somber ceremony that included the reading of the names of more than 2,800 victims.

At 1:00 a.m., drum and bagpipe processionals from each of New York's five boroughs began a slow march to the barren construction site that was once home to the seven-building World Trade Center, including its signature twin towers.

After a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the moment that the first plane struck the north tower, New York Governor George Pataki read from President Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address", a speech given in the midst of the Civil War, which threatened to tear the United States apart.

"We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that the nation might live," the governor read.

As hundreds of victims' family members proceeded down a long ramp into the flattened expanse of Ground Zero, gathering around a large ring into which they placed flowers and small American flags, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began reading the names of those killed in the attacks.

Several family members held aloft large pictures of the loved ones they lost. Many collapsed in tears and struggled to console each other.

Mary Ann Keane read from the eulogy she delivered at her step-father's funeral.

"You were the best father I could ever ask for," she said. "I miss you, and I hope you did not hurt too much. Love, Mary Ann."

The reading of names, which was continued by various New York officials and victims' family members, was interrupted by another moment of silence at 9:03 a.m., the exact time of the second plane's impact into the south tower. Additional silences came at 9:59 and 10:29 a.m. to commemorate the fall of the south and north towers, respectively.

The reading took almost two-and-one-half hours to complete. James McGreevy, the governor of the neighboring state of New Jersey, where many of the victims lived, closed the ceremony with a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

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