- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Hundreds of mourners gathered yesterday on the first anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, observing a moment of silence and taking comfort from a girl's message that their loved ones are "resting from the sorrow and tears."
The plane crashed minutes after taking off for the Dominican Republic, killing all 260 persons on board and five persons on the ground in the peaceful Queens neighborhood of Belle Harbor.
Mourners traveled to the crash site for a moment of silence at 9:16 a.m., the time that the plane crashed moments after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The silence was punctuated with sobs. Strangers hugged and kissed as 12 white doves were released into the rainy sky. Many lingered afterward, placing roses at a fence put up around the still-vacant lots.
Earlier, Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the ceremony in Jacob Riis Park, about two miles from the site.
"It's a time to remember those who are gone and comfort those who remain. The tremendous loss we suffered on that day a year ago added new burdens to an already grieving city," Mr. Bloomberg told the crowd. "And the way the people of our city responded showed the true character of New York City."
About 500 mourners at the park sat or stood under umbrellas; many held white roses and covered themselves with blankets.
Faye Peithman, 14, a resident of Belle Harbor, read a poem: "Just think of them as resting from the sorrow and tears in a place of warmth and comfort, free from dates and years."
Shivering from the wet cold, Cathy Ramirez, 18, of Asbury Park, N.J., clutched two white roses, one for her brother, Joseph, who was 14 when he died, and one for her mother, Maria Perez, 47.
"I miss everything about them. I miss their hugs, I miss them being there for me. I even miss my mom yelling at me," she said.
Observances also were held in the Dominican Republic, where many of the victims were linked by family and roots.
More than 100 people, including President Hipolito Mejia, gathered for a memorial Mass at Santo Domingo's main cathedral. Many expressed frustration at what they called a lack of progress in the crash investigation.
"All we've gotten is promises, but we're still waiting for someone to explain what happened and for someone to take responsibility," said Luisa Perez, who lost her brother, Carlos, in the crash.
The crash devastated Belle Harbor, a picturesque community that sits on a sandy peninsula separating Jamaica Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

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