Solemn Tributes Mark 9/11's Fifth Anniversary - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/11/06-New York

Solemn Tributes Mark 9/11's Fifth Anniversary

Five years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, families of some of the nearly 3,000 victims gathered Monday at Ground Zero for a solemn ceremony.

The commemoration included four moments of silence -- two for the times that hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center towers and two for when the burning towers collapsed into mountains of rubble, killing thousands of people working there and first responders who were trying to rescue them.

The ceremony also included the reading of the names of the 2,749 victims at the trade center site by about 200 of the victims' spouses, partners and significant others.

"It surely cannot be easy to come to this site and speak out loud the name of the person that you had always thought would be next to you, the one with whom you had hoped to face the world, to stand by your side," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the family members. "Yet who can know what is in your hearts?"

The first moment of silence came at 8:46 a.m. ET, the moment American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the trade center's north tower; followed at 9:03 a.m., when United Airlines Flight 175 struck the south tower; then at 9:59 a.m., when the south tower fell; and finally at 10:29 a.m., when the north tower collapsed.

President Bush planned tributes Monday at all three locations hit in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The president and first lady Laura Bush had breakfast with first responder personnel at a New York firehouse and participated in the ceremony with them commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

After Monday's events in New York, the president and first lady planned to attend a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the rural community where hijacked United Flight 93 crashed into a field.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney attended a morning ceremony at the Pentagon, where another hijacked passenger plane struck that day in 2001. The president and Mrs. Bush will lay another wreath there after attending the Shanksville commemoration.

After honoring the victims at the Pentagon, Cheney spoke about what he called the lessons of the terrorist attacks.

"We've learned that oceans do not protect us and threats that gather thousands of miles away can now find us here at home," he said. "We have learned that there is a certain kind of enemy whose ambitions have no limits and whose cruelty is only fed by the grief of others."

He added, "This struggle is fierce, and it will be lengthy, but it is not endless. Our cause is right. Our will is strong. This great nation will prevail."

The president is scheduled to give a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. ET Monday.

An estimated 2,973 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

The death toll from the twin towers includes 87 passengers aboard Flight 11 and 60 on Flight 175. Among the dead were 60 police officers and 343 firefighters who responded to the scene.

Thousands gathered across the country Sunday in tearful tributes, prayers and quiet reflection on the eve of the anniversary.

On Sunday, the president and Mrs. Bush placed wreaths in pools of water where the World Trade Center towers stood before the airliners toppled them five years ago and then attended a service at Trinity Church near Ground Zero.

In Washington, thousands of Americans participated Sunday evening in the Freedom Walk, going from the National Mall to the Pentagon's south parking lot, next to the crash site.

Afterward, the Pentagon beamed 184 lights into the sky, one for each of the people who died in the U.S. military headquarters when American Flight 77 crashed into it. The lights will remain lit until Tuesday.

And hundreds of people traveled to the makeshift memorial in Shanksville, where United Flight 93 crashed after its 38 passengers fought back against the four hijackers who were steering the plane toward Washington.

On the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, a lengthy video statement from al Qaeda called on Muslims to step up their resistance to the United States and warned that "new events" are on the way.

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