August 15, 2002
1400 IST

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Vajpayee to attend 9/11 memorial

A Correspondent in New York

Early in the morning of September 11, five processions will march towards the World Trade Center -- one from each of the five boroughs comprising New York City.

Each procession will be fronted by pipe and drum bands drawn from the NY Fire Department, the Port Authority of New York, the PA of New Jersey, the NY Police Department and the City Corrections and Sanitation Department -- chosen, because each of these five departments in the opinion of officials and citizens performed heroically in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The processions will converge on Ground Zero around 8 am, for a memorial service.

At precisely 8.46 am, when the first hijacked airliner slammed into the Twin Towers, citizens across the city will observe a moment of silence.

Immediately thereafter, Governor George E Pataki will read the text of Abraham Lincoln's famed Gettysburg Address.

A cross section of people, led by former mayor Rudolph Giuliani and including family members and colleagues of those killed on 9/11, will then read out the names of the over 2,800 men and women declared dead in the Twin Towers collapse.

Taps will then be played.

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey will read a relevant excerpt from the declaration of Independence.

The memorial function will conclude at 10.29 am -- the moment in time when, a year ago, the second of the Towers collapsed. At this point, houses of worship across the city have been invited to toll their bells.

From then on, through the rest of the day, families of 9/11 victims will descend into the WTC site, to remember in private the loved ones they have lost.

US President George W Bush will visit the site in the afternoon.

At sunset, another observance will be held at The Sphere, a sculpture that once stood in the WTC Plaza and is now part of a temporary memorial to the victims of 9/11, at Battery Park.

Heads of State from around the world will join this ceremony -- in course of which an eternal flame will be lit. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Prevez Musharraf are among those who have confirmed their attendence at the memorial.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg will, on this occasion, read from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech. Simultaneously, New Yorkers across the city will be asked to light a candle in memory of the lives lost.

Later in the evening, there will be musical gatherings in each of the five boroughs -- in Central Park, Van Cortlandt Park, Prospect Park and Flushing Meadows, and at Snug Harbor. Music reflecting the spirit of the occasion will be performed.

In a statement from the mayor's office, Bloomberg pointed out that many from around the world, including the relatives of September 11 victims, have made suggestions about how the first anniversary should be commemorated.

'The observance we have planned seeks to capture the remarkable thoughtfulness and sensitivity of their proposals,' Bloomberg says in his signed statement.

'Our intent is to have a day of observances that are simple and powerful, and that will allow New Yorkers to participate and to come together as they choose. The day will honor the courage and sacrifice of those we lost last September 11 and give New Yorkers, Americans and people around the world the opportunity to remember, and to reflect.'

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