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Solemn Ceremony Memorializes New York's Sept. 11 Victims - 2003-09-11


New Yorkers memorialized the 2,800 victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the city's World Trade Center in a solemn ceremony emphasizing children and the future.

Two hundred children related to victims of the attacks read the names of the 2,792 people who perished.

The readings of the names were punctuated by four moments of silence to mark the times when hijacked planes flew into the two towers, and the moments when each collapsed, and by poetry readings from officials and families.

Kathleen Froehner, the daughter of a Port Authority police officer who died in the attacks, read a Gwendolyn Brooks poem for her father.

Life is for me and is shining. It's for the people in African tents, People in English cathedrals. The people in Indian courtyards. The people in cottages all over the world. Life is for us and is shining. We have a right to sing.

Family members walked down the long ramp leading to the bedrock at the site where the towers stood. Many brought flowers. Others held up photographs of their lost relatives. As they descended, many recognized that this was perhaps their last journey to bedrock before work begins on redeveloping the site and building a memorial to the victims. Some family members scooped up dirt and placed it in containers.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg concluded the somber proceedings.

"We want to thank the children of New York for helping us to commemorate this day," he said. "Their world is still in the making. As a mayor and a father, I hope it will be a wise and just world and that the city will always be the place where dreams reach skyward and people live in peace."

Concerts, religious services and private ceremonies were held across the city throughout the day, with twin beams of light mimicking the towers, serving as a backdrop to candlelight processions in the evening.