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Observances to Mark Sept. 11 Anniversary

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2002 – A year ago, the World Trade Center's Twin Towers stood tall on the New York City skyline, people at the Pentagon barely noticed the planes flying low overhead, and a rural field southeast of Pittsburgh was just a field.

A year ago, more than 2,800 people in the World Trade Center, 125 Pentagon personnel, and 220 airline passengers were still alive. A year ago, the nation was not at war against terrorism.

Today, the Twin Towers are gone, people at the Pentagon notice the approach of each low-flying plane, and that farm field in Somerset County, Pa., is now a historical site. Today, the families of those who died in the terrorist attack on America's homeland continue to grieve their losses.

Soon, the nation and the world will commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States. Observances are planned in New York City and Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

In New York City, plans call for bagpipe and drum processions to march toward the World Trade Center site from each of the city's five boroughs. They will be led by the pipe and drum corps of the New York Fire, Police, Corrections and Sanitation departments, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The joining of processionals will mark the start of a memorial service that will last 102 minutes -- the amount of time it took before both towers fell.

A moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. will mark the time hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower. New York Gov. George E. Pataki will then read Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is slated to lead New Yorkers and people from around the world in reading the names of the 2,823 people from 90 countries who died at the World Trade Center. Taps will be played after the names have been read.

New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey is to read from the Declaration of Independence. Another moment of silence at 10:29 a.m. will mark the time the World Trade Center's north tower collapsed. Houses of worship will then toll their bells.

President Bush is scheduled to visit the World Trade Center site later that afternoon. At sunset, heads of state from around the world will gather at The Sphere in Battery Park, where an eternal flame will be lit. Pataki will read Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms."

Each of the five boroughs plans to have 90-minute candlelight gatherings, and commemorative concerts are slated at parks throughout the area. New York City officials are asking people everywhere to light candles and join families and neighbors on street corners or in front of their homes.

In Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, a memorial service will be held near the temporary memorial site on Skyline Road. A community memorial concert featuring traditional hymns, patriotic songs and original arrangements is scheduled at the Somerset Alliance Church.

The Pittsburgh Symphony has scheduled a memorial concert at the city's Heinz Hall to pay tribute to the heroes of Sept. 11. Tickets cost $50 and net proceeds will benefit the Somerset County Flight 93 Memorial Fund. Postal officials in Shanksville, Pa., will hold an opening ceremony at the Boulevard of Heroes Station.

The Defense Department has planned a one-hour ceremony at 9 a.m. at the Pentagon Phoenix Project site, the area damaged in the attack. The ceremony will not be open to the general public.

President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers are slated to speak at the Pentagon ceremony.

Pentagon officials will unfurl the large U.S. flag on the side of the Pentagon where it was flown after the attack. A moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. will mark the time American Airlines Flight 77 hit the building.

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