Prayers were offered by a rabbi, a priest and an imam, as firefighters, rescue workers and city officials stood bare-headed not far from the piles of rubble that were once the twin 110-story towers puncturing the lower Manhattan skyline. "The terrorists took down those structures but they will not take away this spirit," said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, chaplain of the New York City Fire Department. "Show one another how to live again."
Other offerings came from the Rev. James Loughran, director of the Commission on Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of New York and Imam Tariq Shahid, assistant to Imam Pasha. The benediction was given by Dr. John Hiemstra, executive director of the Council of Churches of the city of New York. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sat with Gov. George Pataki and other governmental officials on a podium that included poinsettias and a menorah in front of the 16-acre site where the World Trade Center once stood.
At the request of President George W. Bush, the national anthem was played simultaneously across the country and at embassies worldwide at 8:46 a.m. Jazz trumpeter Joey Morant played the "Star Spangled Banner" at Ground Zero. While the giant cranes used to clear steel girders and rubble from the site paused for the brief service as well as firefighters, police and construction workers stood silently, firefighters were seen clearing pieces of rubble by hand in search of remains.
Last week, six mostly intact bodies were recovered from the site as well as an additional 188 human remains as Ground Zero workers hit pockets of rubble containing some intact stairwells. Of the 3,045 missing or declared dead, the number of confirmed dead rose from 486 to 495, the number of missing person cases declined from 588 to 574 and in addition the courts have issued 1,976 death certificates.
The ceremonies were among dozens held around the world and in outer space to mark the events of Sept. 11. On Sept. 11, four U.S. jetliners were hijacked shortly after beginning cross-country flights. Two for the aircraft were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Another crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington. The fourth plane crashed in western Pennsylvania as passengers tried to take control of the jet from the hijackers.
Investigators said a total of 19 men--all with Middle Eastern names--carried out the coordinated hijackings. Government officials later said Osama bin Laden, a suspected terrorist leader based in Afghanistan, was the mastermind behind the plot. On Oct. 7, the United States began military operations against the Taliban, the Afghan rulers who were harboring bin Laden and his al Qaida network.