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Worldwide observances of 9/11 produce kaleidoscope of memories
The worlds of politics, sports, entertainment, fashion and art paused Sunday to remember a day of tragedy and a decade of loss, struggle and renewal sparked by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Cities across the nation held memorial ceremonies, and similar services took place around the world, including in Europe, the Philippines and Australia. Still, a few protests erupted over U.S. policy in the post-9/11 world.
The entertainment community, which came together after Sept. 11 to raise money for victims’ families and recovery efforts, played its own role in marking the tragic day’s 10th anniversary.
David Bowie, Lou Reed and other artists performed at a free concert in the SoHo neighborhood of lower Manhattan. The New York Philharmonic, the New York Choral Society and other groups also performed in the city on Sunday.
A pregame ceremony was staged at Citi Field before the New York Mets battled the Chicago Cubs, with New York City firefighters and other first responders in attendance.
The bitter rivalry between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants was put on the back burner for a few minutes on a warm, sunny Sunday, as the two cities most affected by the Sept. 11 attacks honored those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A giant American flag covered the gridiron at FedEx Field before kickoff.
There were motorcycle rides in Alaska and California, a blood drive and dog walk in Texas, a Beach Boys concert in Colorado.
In Grand Prairie, Texas, the First United Methodist Church saluted service members and first responders with a “Spirit of America” musical. In Cooper City, Fla., the American Legion planned a “Let Us Not Forget” poker run to raise money for care packages for troops overseas.
At New York City’s Fashion Week on Sunday, designers showing spring 2012 collections honored the anniversary in their own ways.
Texas-born designer Lela Rose, who has dressed former President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, opened her show to a full playing of John Lennon’s ode to peace, “Imagine.” Guests at the DKNY show found Sept. 11 mementos on their seats to mark the somber day as host Donna Karan, wearing a Sept. 11 tribute T-shirt, greeted guests personally outside the event.
President Obama and a host of other dignitaries marked the day in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa., but they weren’t the only ones to stop and pay tribute to the fallen.
In downtown Lansing, Mich., locals dressed in red, white and blue mounted a 9/11 stair-climb tribute, using the Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball team’s stadium to trudge the 7,000 stairs marking the total number of steps ascending and descending in both of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.
In Detroit, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services hosted a weekend conference at the Arab American Museum. The event was aimed at fostering understanding and discussing the state of the nation in the decade since the attacks.
In the Motor City’s Belle Isle Park, runners gathered for an early-morning remembrance ceremony followed by a 5K run-walk to raise money to send two area firefighters to a New York City Tunnel to Towers race.
In Colorado, about 35,000 people attended the commemorative event at Civic Center Park in Denver, which featured Gov. John Hickenlooper and Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar, as well as a free concert by the Beach Boys and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
At the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, the Delta Tau Delta-Theta Omicron fraternity planted an enormous American flag flower bed on campus to honor the victims and celebrate the nation’s perseverance.
The flag consists of red, white and blue pansies and measures 20 feet by 25 feet. Most of the fraternity members are barely old enough to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks, but “that doesn’t detract from the impact it had on our lives,” fraternity spokesman Steven Smith said.
“One of our primary goals of this project was to rekindle that sense of unity that swept the nation after this national tragedy,” said Mr. Smith, a sophomore.
While it marked the most deadly attack ever on American soil, Sept. 11 caused heartache around the globe. Citizens of more than 90 countries lost their lives that day, and each nation paid tribute in its unique way.
In Sydney, Australia, firefighters donned their gear to attend an interfaith service at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. More than 1,000 people attended the ceremony to remember the 10 Australians who were killed.
In Paris, scaled reproductions of the twin towers were displayed in the front of Eiffel Tower during a commemorative service. In Madrid, a group of children planted 10 oak trees.
Families of the 12 Japanese Fuji Bank employees who died in the company’s World Trade Center office gathered in Tokyo to pay their respects. A Berlin ceremony included a moment of silence at the moment the first plane struck the trade center.
Services also were held in Moscow, Manila and elsewhere.
Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the victims of Sept. 11 and their families on Sunday during an outdoor Mass in Ancona, Italy.
“I invite the leaders of nations and men of good will to always refuse violence as the solution to problems, to resist the temptation toward hatred and to work in society, inspired by the principles of solidarity, justice and peace,” he told the crowd.
In London’s Grosvenor Square, British Prime Minister David Cameron and other officials remembered the 67 Britons who died.
“None of us will ever forget where we were or what we were doing, when on that otherwise ordinary day, and out of a clear blue sky, came so much premeditated death and destruction,” Prince Charles said.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a memorial service, but also used the occasion to again call for the world community to unite and keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The possibility that the world’s most dangerous weapons will fall into the hands of the world’s most dangerous regimes is too real,” he said. “The struggle against radical Islamic terrorism … is not yet over. We must all unite, countries that aspire to life, certainly the democracies that cherish life, and act in concern against this blight.”
Some of the most poignant tributes were held at U.S. military bases. In Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker led a ceremony that included the lowering of the American flag and prayers. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad hosted a service and held a moment of silence at 9:11 a.m.
Others used the occasion to protest U.S. intervention in the Arab world. In Islamabad and Multan, Pakistan, about 100 supporters of an Islamist political party held demonstrations against the U.S. In Karachi, 100 people decried the war in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.
Despite such hatred for America in some corners of the world, the war-weariness of the American people likely means the end of major military operations in the Middle East, said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. McCain, one of Congress’ most respected voices on defense and military matters, said there will be no more all-out war after troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I don’t think American public opinion would stand for it,” he said, adding that future missions in Somalia, Yemen and other terrorist hot spots should be conducted with special forces and air power, not ground invasions.
c This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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