New Yorkers marked the fourth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States with a solemn ceremony at the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers. Siblings of the victims read the names of the more than 27,00 people who died when the towers collapsed.
New York City paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in a fourth commemoration ceremony almost identical to the three earlier ones. In previous years, spouses and parents, children and grandparents have read the names of those who died in the attacks.
This year, the brothers and sisters of victims read the names in a solemn ceremony at what has become known as Ground Zero, the site of the collapsed twin towers: "Michael Aziak. Michael Edward Asher. Janice Marie Ashley. And our brother and sister-in-law John Thomas Resta and Sylvia Sampero Resta and their unborn child. We love you."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the ceremony, sending the city's sympathies to victims of other terrorist attacks around the world and the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast two weeks ago: "Today, as we recite the names of those we lost, our hearts turn as well towards London, our sister-city, remembering those she has lost, as well. To Americans suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our deepest sympathies go out to you this day."
The ceremony paused for four separate moments of silence to observe the times when two of four hijacked airplanes struck the two towers, and the times when each tower collapsed. After the second moment of silence, an out of town guest, the U.S. secretary of state, spoke: "Good morning. I am Condoleezza Rice. I am so deeply moved to hear the individual stories of brothers and sisters, to learn about the lives of those who died here, for we all know that, no matter how many fall, each life tells a unique story, and each death diminishes us all."
Many of the relatives attending the ceremony held photographs of their lost loved ones and wore white ribbons. As in years past, family members descended a ramp to Ground Zero, and placed flowers in a reflecting pool. Looming above the pool is a new office building, and in front is a new transportation hub, signs that the once devastated site is being rebuilt, despite a series of delays and design controversies.
Religious observances and smaller commemoration ceremonies took place across the metropolitan area. And in what has become a September 11th tradition, two beams of light, known as the "Tribute in Light," inspired by the twin towers, rise from the New York skyline from dusk until dawn.