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NY Begins to Bury Dead - 2001-09-15

New York began to bury its dead Saturday amid signs that the city is resuming normal activities after a week of shock and mourning. One high profile funeral had great symbolic resonance for weary New Yorkers.

Funerals were held for several of the firefighters who died in Tuesday's deadly terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

About 300 firefighters, including the highest ranking member of the Fire Department, are missing or dead. Most lost their lives in the effort to get people out of the two burning 110 story towers of the World Trade Center before they collapsed. One of those funerals was for Father Michael Judge, the Roman Catholic priest who was chaplain for the New York City Fire Department.

New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered one of the eulogies. She remembered a visit Father Judge made to the White House when she was First Lady. "What a beacon of light!" she exclaimed. "He lit up the White House as he lit up every place he ever found himself."

Rescue workers have not given up hope of finding survivors and say their desperate task may become easier now that substantial amounts of debris been cleared, including shattered and dangerous pieces of twisted steel. Without the layers of rubble, they say trained rescue dogs will be able to pick up signs of life more quickly, especially if people are trapped in air pockets in the rubble.

Former New York mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins are organizing what is expected to be a huge memorial service for the fallen firefighters in Central Park September 23.

City officials have raised the number missing to just under 5,000. Area hospitals have treated more than 4,000 victims. At the same time, there were signs all over the city that dazed New Yorkers are returning to normal. Residents of lower Manhattan near the site of the attack were allowed to briefly return to their apartments to collect essentials.

The New York Stock exchange has announced that after a successful test-run Saturday it will reopen Monday.

New York has been so overwhelmed with donations of supplies that officials say no more are needed.

New York Governor George Pataki says volunteer help is still needed but not at the site of the attack. He says the grief is uniting New Yorkers and Americans. "We are going to get through this together," he said. "I was with the President last night right here with the families and Port Authority Police and New York City Police who have lost their husbands and fathers and it is tough for all of us, for all of America. We all grieve."

The U.S. Naval ship "Comfort" has arrive in New York to help house thousands of volunteers who have poured in from all over the United States and Canada.

Numerous funds have been set up to help the families of the victims.