NEW YORK-The usual sounds of New York; car horns, bus exhausts
and yelling vendors, were drowned out by another sound last
At 8:46 a.m., the thousands of people who had gathered to honor
the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 2001, attacks, stood in
silence for one minute to represent the time the first plane hit
the World Trade Center towers. The church bells that rang out from
surrounding houses of worship were the only thing that cut through
Following a brief opening statement by New York Mayor Micheal
Bloomberg, the names of all 2, 749 victims were read, breaking only
for moments of silence at the time that the second plane struck and
the times that each tower fell.
The reading of names has become a tradition at the Sept. 11,
2001, memorial ceremony. Last year the names were read by children,
this year they were read by parents and grandparents of the
“It has been said that a child who loses a parent is an orphan,
a man who loses his wife is a widower and a woman who loses her
husband is a widow,” Bloomberg said. “But there is no name for a
parent who loses a child, for there are no words to describe this
New York Gov. George Pataki, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevy and
former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani also made brief comments.
Family members were allowed to go down into the area where the
World Trade Center once stood, and where the ceremony took place.
Everyone else who attended the memorial ceremony stood on the edges
of Ground Zero, surrounding the entire site.
Dave Tubens, a New York resident, stood outside the fences,
looking in at the place where, three years ago, he helped with the
search and rescue effort after the attacks. He arrived two hours
after the second plane hit, stayed for three days and has returned
to the site every year since.
“It’s good to see every body out here,” he said. “It is still a
very somber place for me. I still can’t believe that anybody would
do this to other human beings.”
Much has changed since Tubens first was here.
“On (Sept. 11) you knew you were in a war zone; It looked just
like a war zone. Now the rebuilding is going so fast. The No. 7
over there,” he said, pointing to a large skyscraper to his right
that was almost completely obliterated three years ago, “it’s
On July 4 the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower, the building
that will fill the hole left by the Twin Towers, was placed. The
Freedom Tower is set to be finished in 2009.
“I think physically (Ground Zero) has changed since I was last
here, but not emotionally,” said Sgt. Cathie Lovato, of the
Edgewater Police Department, who was part of a group of more than
15 Colorado law enforcement officials that traveled to New York
specifically for the memorial service.
“It’s more about healing than anything else,” she said.
While reconstruction is moving forward, many things in New York,
and the world, were changed forever by the Sept. 11, 2001,
“Perhaps a consequence of 9/11 is that we realized, if we didn’t
realize it before, that we are a part of the world puzzle and we’ve
got to start getting out there and figuring out how we fit,” said
Brian Williams, who is set to replace Tom Brokaw as the NBC Evening
News anchor, in a speech at the Society of Professional Journalists
National Convention on Sept. 10.
This realization is something Cathi Hammond, a Colorado resident
who visited Ground Zero over the weekend, said is hard to truly
understand until you see the site.
“You can feel the horror of it when you are watching something
like that on T.V., but the true reality of that horror doesn’t sink
in until you are here,” Hammond said.
And that horror still resonates with many New York residents
even today, three years later.
“I came here today to show my respect,” said James Harris, a
young New York City resident. “Me and my dad used to come to the
towers all the time. We loved them. We were there the day before
Harris used to be able to see the towers from his apartment, now
when he looks out his window he sees an empty reminder of the
But for people who don’t have constant reminder of the events of
Sept. 11, 2001, like Harris does, Saturday’s ceremony served that
“We came here to remember,” Bloomberg said in his opening
address. “To ask the country and world to remember the people who