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First Anniversary of Bali Bombing Remembered - 2003-10-12

Families of terrorist attack victims on the Indonesian island of Bali have marked the first anniversary of the car bombing that killed more than 200 people and devastated tourism. Australian Prime Minister John Howard Sunday laid a wreath at the site of the attack after attending a ceremony that reflected the cultures and religions of those who died.

To the sound of Christian hymns and traditional Balinese music, families of the victims of last year's Bali bombings Sunday remembered their loved ones.

The ceremony took place at an open-air theater near the ocean, not far from the site of the night club attack one year ago. The attack killed 202 people, most of them Australian and Indonesian, as well as people from 20 other nations.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard told the gathering that the Bali bombings brought the people of Australia and Indonesia closer together.

He thanked Indonesian officials for police work that has seen nearly two dozen individuals convicted for the attack. "Australia will never forget the 12th of October 2002. But it has taught us a number of things about ourselves. It has taught us about our strengths. It has taught us about the need to cooperate with others in the ongoing fight against the terrible deeds and the terrible hatred that caused so much pain and so much misery a year ago today," Mr. Howard said.

Indonesia's Political and Security Affairs Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said people still do not understand the hatred that led some individuals to kill innocent people.

But he vowed that Indonesians will bring to justice all of those responsible, saying they have no place in Indonesian society. "The people of Indonesia are resolute in condemning terrorist attacks as a travesty of the true teachings of all religions, which promote peace, tolerance and brotherhood," Mr. Susilo said.

A senior leader of Bali's Hindu community, Gusti Made Ngurah, offered a prayer for the victims. Reverend Gusti prayed that the victims be given an appropriate place in the next life and the families be given strength to move on. And he asked for God's help in bringing peace to the world.

Prayers were also offered by Muslim and Christian clerics. The names of the dead were called out, one by one.

And to the strains of Australia's unofficial national anthem, "Waltzing Matilda," the crowd of mourners bid farewell to their loved ones.

Some mourners said afterwards they felt closure from the ceremony. Others, however, said they would be back next year.