US remembers victims of 9-11 on six-month anniversary - - Columbia, South Carolina |

US remembers victims of 9-11 on six-month anniversary

NEW YORK (AP) March 11, 2002 - Two moments of silence marking six months since the first plane hit the World Trade Center began a day of reflection for city officials and victims' families who gathered at a park near ground zero Monday morning.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the first moment of silence at 8:46am, the time that American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower on September 11th.

Bloomberg asked those gathered to "look into your hearts to remember those that are no longer with us and also to think about how we can go forward, never forget those that we lost, but also to build the kind of future that they will want for all of us."

Prayers and a message from President Bush were read during the service at Battery Park, just blocks from the trade center.

Gov. George Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke before the second moment of silence at 9:03am, when United Flight 175 smashed into the south tower.

"This was the worst violation of America in our history," Giuliani said. "And in the moments it was taking place... I wondered, could we endure? Could we handle it? Could we get through it?"

"Shortly after, during the first day, I realized that your loved ones gave us the example on which we would build," Giuliani said. "It's to them that we have to look for our inspiration and our sense of purpose. they would want us to lift our heads very, very high" and move forward.

Pataki said six months ago, "We saw the face of evil."

"And yet September 11th will also stand for our response, which was to respond to evil with good, to respond to terror with love," he added.

At police precincts citywide, the names of the 23 officers killed were read aloud at 8:30am "It's not even about six months, or a year or five," former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said on CNN. "Every day you think something about that day."

City officials also dedicated a temporary memorial to victims that uses a sculpture damaged in the September 11th attack.

"The Sphere," a steel and bronze sculpture that stood in the fountain of the trade center plaza, was gashed and partially crushed by falling debris. It was created in 1971 by artist Fritz Koenig and was dedicated as a monument to world peace through international trade.

"The sphere may be damaged but our belief in the principles it represents has never been stronger," Bloomberg told a crowd that included victims' relatives.

"The real memorial will be in our hearts," he said. "What we remember is the people we lost and those we left behind and their wish for a better America and a better world."

Bloomberg said the globe probably would serve as a centerpiece for a permanent memorial.

The day of remembrance was to end after dark with the ceremonial lighting of two beams aimed skyward from a spot near ground zero. The beams are meant to evoke the destroyed towers.

The events are important reminders to the public, but they also bring back painful memories for people like Joseph Maurer, who lost his daughter, Jill Campbell, in the attack.

Maurer said he and his family would stay away from the television as networks broadcast special shows to remember the attacks.

"They're going to keep showing the buildings collapsing, and we're not really all that interested in seeing that part of it," Maurer said.

Holli Silver, whose husband, David Silver, was killed in the attack, said she wasn't planning to attend any of the day's ceremonies.

"Look at how we have to live our lives. Every morning you wake up and wonder if they'll find another (body) part that day," Silver said. "I don't want the world to forget, that's for sure, so if this means people will pay attention, that's fine. But as far as for me, six months is still a living hell."

Maurer, a retired firefighter from Brooklyn who also lost a dozen firefighter friends in the trade center, said the family was considering going to ground zero for the lighting of the beams.

The "Tribute in Light" will shine from a vacant lot next to the trade center complex and will consist of two searchlights sending 88 high-powered beams of light into the night sky.

The light towers were created by two arts organizations and will be displayed until April 13. The estimated $10,000 worth of electricity is being donated by the Consolidated Edison power company.

Flags at the South Carolina State House are at half staff on Monday in remembrance of 9-11.

Updated 11:36am by Brett Witt 

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