The void created remained as it was nine years ago in the hearts of the loved ones. As one relative said, they came to remember not the way the victims died, but the way they lived.The void created by the collapse of the two towers in Manhattan too remained though the work for the freedom towers is in full swing. But next year a new memorial is expected to open on the tenth anniversary.
'We have returned to this sacred site to join our hearts together with the names of those we loved and lost,' New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the start of the event. 'No other public tragedy has cut our city so deeply. No other place is as filled with our compassion, our love, and our solidarity.'
The names of the 2,752 who died at the World Trade Center were read out aloud by relations and officials associated with the WTC museum.
The first bell tolled at 8:46 am to total silence, to mark the first plane striking the North Tower. At 9:03 am the bell tolled again to mark the second plane hitting the South Tower.
Vice President Joe Biden then came to the podium and read a poem by HW Longfellow. 'Build today, then strong and sure with a firm and ample base; and ascending and secure shall tomorrow find its place.'
In a ceremony in Washington DC, President Barack Obama noted, 'On this day, we also honor those who died so that others might live: the firefighters and first responders who climbed the stairs of two burning towers; the passengers who stormed a cockpit; and the men and women who have, in the years since, borne the uniform of this country and given their lives so that our children could grow up in a safer world.'
Obama laid a wreath at the Pentagon, where American Airlines Flight 77 struck and killed 184 people. In Shanksville, first lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush led the commemoration for the victims of Flight 93.
Obama earlier noted that America is not at war with Islam but with Al Qaeda's sorry band of men which perverts religion asked for tolerance from people.
After the memorial service ended a rally supporting the Islamic center was attended by several people and a heavy police escort. It was organized by left-wing, antiwar and pro-Palestinian groups, according to New York Times. It began about a block and a half from 51 Park Place at City Hall Park.
The Hindu Human Rights Watch organized a rally against the mosque at 3 pm at West Broadway and Church Street, near Ground Zero. The organizers noted in a message that, 'If we don't speak up today, tomorrow it will be your turn or that of your loved ones. US is a democracy today, but there is no guarantee it tomorrow will be so unless we are vigilant. This movement is not against Muslims, it is against Islam and its supremacist ideology, hate and Jihad against non-believers (as well as against Muslim women) throughout history. This is to protect Universal human rights of all.'
Image: People gather at the 9/11 Memorial at Zucotti park in New York.
Photograph: George Joseph