- The Washington Times - Monday, September 11, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) - The World Trade Center site fell silent four times as Americans paused in airport security lines, at churches and at quiet commemorations this morning to mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

At ground zero, a cavernous pit still largely unchanged from the first anniversary, family members of the 2,749 people lost held photos of loved ones, crossed themselves and sobbed quietly.

The 16-acre site went quiet at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., the moments American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 hit, and again at 9:59 a.m. and 10:29 a.m., when the south and north towers fell.

“We’ve come back to remember the valor of those we’ve lost, those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them,” former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

Spouses and partners of the trade center victims read their names in a roll call that lasted nearly four hours, some adding brief personal tributes to their loved ones.

“Honey, I want you to have a happy grandparents’ day in heaven,” said Elaine Moccia, addressing her late husband, Frank Moccia Sr., as she released a balloon gently into the sky where the towers once rose 110 stories above the New York skyline.

President Bush opened the day at a historic New York firehouse, mingling with firefighters and police officers who were among the first to rush to the burning skyscrapers. He later laid a wreath on the Pennsylvania field where United Flight 93 crashed, and was to visit the Pentagon later today before giving a prime-time address from the Oval Office.

At ground zero, family members clutching bouquets of roses had descended to the lowest level of the trade center site, gathering around two small reflecting pools that marked where the two towers once stood.

At the Pentagon, where 184 people died when American Flight 77 plowed into the building, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld walked side-by-side to a platform. They sang along to “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and observed a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m., the time the plane struck.

“We have no intention of ignoring or appeasing history’s latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power,” Mr. Cheney said.

In Shanksville, where United Flight 93 crashed into the ground, killing 40, hundreds of people gathered at a temporary memorial - a 10-foot chainlink fence covered with American flags, firefighter helmets and children’s drawings. They opened the ceremony with prayer.

United 93 crashed after passengers apparently rushed the cockpit in an effort to wrest control from the terrorists.

“These men and women stood in solidarity so others would receive salvation,” said Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and the nation’s first homeland security secretary.

At Logan International Airport in Boston, where the two planes that hit the trade center towers took off, security screeners stopped checking passengers for a moment and turned to an American flag. Passengers in line joined in the silent tribute.

In Chicago, people filled churches to pray and remember the victims. In Virginia Beach, Va., firefighters and residents planned to form a human flag. In Ohio, volunteers aimed to put up 3,000 flags over 10 acres at a spiritual center.

Around the world, heads bowed at Sept. 11 remembrances.

“Nine-eleven will be in our memory forever,” Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said at a downtown piazza. “We all remember where we were, what we were doing, what our first reaction was.”

German Chancellor Angela Markel warned that “tolerance and respect for other cultures” must be hallmarks of the international fight against terror, and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said the world was not safer since 2001.

“It took about 30 years for this terrorism to develop,” Mr. Giuliani said Monday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America” as he stood at the trade center site. “It’s going to take more than five years to deconstruct them.”

“I’m kind of surprised at the progress we’ve made,” he said. “We haven’t been attacked in five years. I thought we would be. I thought for sure we would be. I thank God we haven’t. But we have to prepare for it.”

Bush administration officials had made the case Sunday it was no accident that the United States had not faced an attack since Sept. 11.

On the anniversary, there were indications of the tension that remains.

New York’s bustling Pennsylvania Station was briefly evacuated Monday and rush-hour train service was suspended when a suspicious bag was found. In the skies, a United Airlines jet headed from Atlanta to San Francisco was diverted to Dallas when an unclaimed BlackBerry e-mail device was found on board. A Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman later said the flight was secure.

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