- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Relatives of September 11 victims bowed their heads in silence yesterday to mark the moments exactly six years earlier when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

The dreary skies created a grim backdrop — and a sharp contrast to the clear blue of that morning in 2001.

“That day we felt isolated, but not for long and not from each other,” New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said as the first ceremony began. “Six years have passed, and our place is still by your side.”

Construction equipment now fills the city block where the World Trade Center once stood. The work under way for four new towers forced the ceremony to take place in a nearby park for the first time.

As people clutched framed photos of their lost loved ones, Kathleen Mullen, whose niece Kathleen Casey died in the attacks, said the park was close enough.

“Just so long as we continue to do something special every year, so you don’t wake up and say, ‘Oh, it’s 9/11,’ ” she said.

On this anniversary, presidential politics and the health of ground zero workers loomed.

The firefighters and first responders who helped rescue thousands that day in 2001 and later recovered the dead were to read the victims’ names for the first time. Many rescuers are now ill with respiratory problems and cancers, and they blame the illnesses on exposure to the fallen towers’ toxic dust.

For the first time, the name of Felicia Dunn-Jones — who survived the towers’ collapse, but died five months later of lung disease blamed on the dust she inhaled — was added to the official roll.

A memorial honoring United Airlines Flight 93’s 40 passengers and crew began at 9:45 a.m., shortly before the time the plane nose-dived into the field near Shanksville, Pa.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told mourners there: “You have my promise that we will continue to work every single day to protect the people of this country, all in the name of those who perished heroically on Flight 93.”

In New York, drums and bagpipes played as an American flag saved from the collapse was carried toward a stage.

Firefighters shared the platform with former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who many victims’ families and firefighters had said shouldn’t speak at the service to keep from politicizing it.

Mr. Giuliani has made his performance after the 2001 terrorist attacks the cornerstone of his presidential campaign, but the Republican has said his desire to be there yesterday was entirely personal.

“It was a day with no answers, but with an unending line of people who came forward to help one another,” he told those gathered.

After he descended to the trade center site, one man yelled “Scum! Scum!” at him, and a woman from the family line said Mr. Giuliani didn’t allow enough time for the search for victims’ remains.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination, also attended the ceremonies. Republican Mitt Romney, another presidential contender, issued a statement describing the attacks as the day “radical Islamists brought terror to our shores” and paying tribute to U.S. troops sent to Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath.

In Washington, President Bush paused for a moment of silence outside the White House. At the Pentagon, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke beside the wall where one of the planes crashed.

“I do not know the proper words to tell you what’s in my heart, what is in our hearts, what your fellow citizens are thinking today. We certainly hope that somehow these observances will help lessen your pain,” he said.

In all, 2,974 victims were killed by the September 11 attacks: 2,750 connected to the World Trade Center, 40 in Pennsylvania and 184 at the Pentagon. Those numbers do not include the 19 hijackers.

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