US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle along with former President George Bush and his wife Laura led the world in mourning the loss of nearly 3,000 people, who lost their lives exactly 10 years ago in the most fearful terror attack that changed the way we live.
Dressed in black, the two couples held hands as they walked slowly along
the memorial, watching the wall etched with names of the 2,983 people
killed in the terror unleashed by al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Even though bin Laden was taken out in a unilateral raid by American
military commandos on May 2 in Pakistan, the wounds of the victim's
families, including Indians, remained fresh.
An eerie silence gripped the ground-zero as America's first family along
with Bush spent about a minute at the 30-foot waterfalls that are part
of the new memorial.
People silently held on to American flags as well as photos of their
loved ones who died when hijacked twin planes rammed into the iconic
World Trade Centre here, bringing the skyscrapers down like a pack of
The ceremony began with a procession of bagpipers and singing of the
national anthem by a choir.
Tears rolled down the cheeks of many present as names of the victims
were read out at the event, which was under heavy security cover,
following fresh security alerts regarding a possible al-Qaeda attack.
Families could be seen clutching each other's hands as Obama read out
verses from Biblical chapter Psalm 46, which talks about God as a source
of refuge and strength.
Mayor Michael R Bloomberg said that the attacks had turned "a perfect
blue-sky morning" into "the blackest of nights."
He added, "we can never unsee what happened here."
Incidentally, unlike earlier occasions, the ritual of reading the names
of the dead took place against a backdrop of the spectacular,
three-quarter-built 1 World Trade Center tower, rather than a
construction site- ground-zero.
People also saw the dedication of a simple, but moving monument
consisting of massive fountains, sunk into the footprints of the former
towers, with the names of the dead written in bronze around the edges.
People gathered and prayed at cathedrals in their cities and laid roses
before fire stations.
Americans saw new memorials in lower Manhattan, rural Pennsylvania and
Formal ceremonies were held in many countries to remember the souls of
Even though 10 years have passed since the tragic attack, the pain and
the suffering still exists.
Indian origin surgeon John Mathai, who lost his younger brother Joseph,
says 10 years may seem a long time to many but for him the years have
not dulled the pain of the "unfortunate" event.
"The loss of my brother is a loss that will never be replaced. Ten years
have gone by but there has hardly ever been a day where I have not
thought of him and the wonderful time we spent in New York," Mathai
New Jersey resident Arjan Mirpuri's 30-year-old son Rajesh was among the
"My son did not even work at the World Trade Centre. He had gone there
that day to attend a trade show. Before that day, Rajesh had never gone
to the WTC. 9/11 became the most unfortunate day of our lives," Mirpuri
And it is not that the threat of a terror attack has decreased since
then. Even as the world pauses to reflect on the tragedy that killed
people from more than 90 countries, the city and Washington is under
intense security gaze.
Meanwhile, remembrance services were held across Britain for those who
died in the attacks, which included 67 Britons.
In London, families of some of the 67 British victims gathered for a
service at Grosvenor Chapel and a ceremony was held at St Paul's
Cathedral. Wreaths are to be laid at the September 11 Memorial Garden
near the US embassy.
In the first of the global memorials, the US rugby team attended an
emotional service in New Zealand, hours ahead of their opening World Cup
match against Ireland.
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and his French counterpart Alain
Juppe, laid a wreath to honour those who have fought for freedom at the
Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
In Japan, families gathered in Tokyo to pay their respects to the 23
Fuji Bank employees, who were killed in the attack. A dozen of the
workers were Japanese.
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak sent a letter to US President
Barack Obama, conveying his "deepest condolences" to the victims of the
9/11 tragedy, their bereaved families and the American public.
Pakistan, which is under pressure to uproot terror safe havens from its
soil, pledged to strengthen international cooperation to eliminate
terrorism and asked the world community to uphold ideals like tolerance.
Earlier in an interview to NBC
news channel, Obama said he remembered September 11, 2001 as a day when a
tried and tested US "came together" in the face of disaster.
"For me, like for most of us, our first reaction was and continues to be
just heartbreak for the families involved," Obama said.
"The other thing that we all remember is how America came together...And
so 10 years later, I'd say America came through this thing in a way
that was consistent with our character," the President said.
"We made mistakes. Some things haven't happened as quickly as they
needed to, but overall we took the fight to al-Qaeda," he added.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have said that their movement had no role in the
9/11 attacks and accused the US of using the incident to invade
Afghanistan where they have killed tens of thousands of innocent
In a defiant statement emailed to media, the Taliban accused the US of
using the September 11 attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan.
"Each year, 9/11 reminds the Afghans of an event in which they had no
role whatsoever," the Taliban said. "American colonialism has shed the
blood of tens of thousands of miserable and innocent Afghans."
World Comes Together to Pause And Reflect on 9/11
Yoshita Singh/New York
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