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Nation to honor victims in silence

©Associated Press

September 11, 2002


NEW YORK -- The nation will remember Sept. 11 mostly in silence, with few sounds other than bells tolling, military jets roaring in tribute and the reading of victims' names.

NEW YORK -- The nation will remember Sept. 11 mostly in silence, with few sounds other than bells tolling, military jets roaring in tribute and the reading of victims' names.

At the World Trade Center, felled by two of the four hijacked jetliners, family members and dignitaries will read the names of the 2,801 dead and missing this morning, an hour-and-a-half recitation to begin and end with moments of silence and include readings of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address.

The city's remembrance will begin with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane hit the trade center -- and should end just before 10:30 a.m., when the second tower collapsed.

Cities nationwide will fall silent for moments in the morning and throughout the day. In Los Angeles, houses of worship were asked to ring bells at 5:46 a.m., followed by a moment of silence.

A ceremony was planned at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which marks what had been the worst act of terrorism on American soil. In Chicago, residents will observe three minutes of silence before an interfaith prayer at Daley Plaza.

In New York, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was scheduled to lead the reading of victims' names. Other readers include Secretary of State Colin Powell, actor Robert De Niro and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A ceremony at the Pentagon, where 189 people were killed, including five hijackers, will begin at 9:30 a.m., and include a moment of silence, the Pledge of Allegiance and music by military bands.

Thousands are expected to gather in the Pennsylvania field where the fourth hijacked plane crashed. The ceremony at 10:06 a.m., the time of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash, will include a moment of silence and a reading of the 40 victims' names as bells are tolled.

Ceremonies nationwide were to rely on symbolism and historical references.

Barbara Minervino, who lost her husband, is not going to a ceremony but said keeping speeches out of the anniversary remembrances was a good idea.

"There are no words, really, that anyone can say, that would heal the heart, that would change the moment, so silence is probably best," Minervino said.

But Mary Beth Norton, a professor of history at Cornell University, said: "Wordless ceremonies or repeating things written in the past strike me as a statement that we're almost not up to commemorating an event of this magnitude properly."

President Bush will visit all three disaster sites today, traveling from the Pentagon to Pennsylvania to New York.

Bush will address the nation tonight from Ellis Island, with the Statue of Liberty as his backdrop. He hopes it will remind "America again of our moral calling, our higher purpose as the beacon of liberty and freedom for people around the world," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

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