September 11, 2008

Seventh Anniversary of 9/11 Commemorated

Thousands gathered Thursday at Ground Zero in New York to mark the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Somber music provided an aural backdrop as the names of the victims who died when the World Trade Center's Twin Towers collapsed were read by family members or representatives of the 95 countries that were in the towers that day.

Four times a moment of silence was observed -- once each for when the airplanes piloted by terrorists rammed the towers and once each when the towers collapsed. Participants, many carrying photos of the victims, openly wept.

"For seven years we've come back here to be together to feel how the entire world is linked in the circle of sorrow," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was in office when the attacks occurred.

The trading floor of the nearby New York Stock Exchange was quiet as the traders observed a moment of silence.

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain were to go to Ground Zero together after the ceremony to place a wreath.

Commemorations also were held in Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, where the first of three permanent memorials was dedicated.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued proclamations declaring Sept. 11 Patriot Day and September "Heroes of Flight 93" month. All four hijacked planes were bound for California.

"This devastating act of terrorism transformed our nation and on our darkest day, our country united to comfort the loved ones affected by this tragedy," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "Today we come together as Californians and citizens of the greatest country in the world to remember these victims and honor those who sacrificed their lives on September 11th."