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Italians Mark September 11 Anniversary with Peace March, 'Memory and Light' Monument

Thousands marched for peace in the central Italian city of Assisi on the fourth anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States as a memorial was unveiled in the northern Italian city of Padua. A ceremony was also held in Rome and Pope Benedict recalled the victims and called for a renunciation of hatred.

Waving rainbow-colored peace flags, thousands of people from all over the world marched through the streets of Assisi, the town of Saint Francis. They carried banners calling for an end to poverty and hunger in the world.

Many in the crowd called on world leaders meeting next week at the U.N. General Assembly in New York to take concrete actions to promote peace.

"This demonstrator said he was taking part in the march to spread a positive culture of peace, which calls on all of us today to take on our responsibilities," one demonstrator said.

Elsewhere in Italy, in the northern city of Padua, U.S. architect Daniel Libeskind unveiled a memorial to the victims of the September 11th attacks. The memorial, titled "Memory and Light," integrates a piece of the World Trade Center given to Italy by the United States.

In a message, the Italian president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, said this work of art could be a symbol that increases awareness of the ideals of peace, democracy and solidarity, which must always enlighten humanity's path.

A ceremony was held in Rome to mark the September 11th attacks and was attended by the new U.S. ambassador to Italy, Ronald Spogli. Lower house speaker Pier Ferdinando Casini said the attacks were a deep wound straight to the heart of the West.

Mr. Casini said September 11th was followed by too much amnesia in the West. Many wept at the time but have forgotten too easily. He added: "We will continue in our commitment and battle against terrorism. We owe this to our children if we want to leave them a more united and just world."

At his summer residence in the hills south of Rome, Pope Benedict also recalled the fourth anniversary of the attacks in the United States. He said today was a day to think of all the victims of terrorist violence in the world and to pray for an end to hatred.

Pope Benedict said: "May God inspire men and women of goodwill everywhere to renounce hatred and build a world of justice, solidarity and peace."

The pope also told the faithful that next Wednesday a summit of heads of state and government will begin in New York next Wednesday that will tackle important issues such as world peace, human rights, development, and the reform of the world body.

The pope said the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, would be traveling to New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

Pope Benedict said he hoped those attending the summit would be successful in putting in place efficient measures to respond to the urgent problems afflicting so many people, including poverty, illness and hunger.