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Observances to include eternal flame, reading of victims' names
NEW YORK -- World leaders will light an eternal flame, the governor will deliver the Gettysburg Address, and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will lead a reading of the names of 2,823 victims during a day of "simple and powerful" observances marking the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.
"This will not be an ordinary day for anyone in New York," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday in announcing a plan that "honors the memory of those we lost that day and that gives New Yorkers, Americans and people around the world the opportunity to remember and reflect."
Bloomberg said the daylong series of remembrances Sept. 11 will start early in the morning with bagpipe and drum processions that will begin in each of the city's five boroughs and converge at the World Trade Center site.
At 8:46 a.m., the time a hijacked airliner slammed into one of the twin towers, the city will observe a moment of silence.
Giuliani, who was praised for his courageous leadership after the attack, will begin the reading of the names of those killed.
"If anybody has a tie to those lost and is appropriate to start that out, it is Rudy Giuliani," Bloomberg said.
A cross-section of New Yorkers and people from around the world -- including those who lost family members and co-workers in the attack -- will follow Giuliani in reading the names, which is expected to take most of the nearly two-hour service.
Gov. George Pataki will read Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which includes the line: "We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
The service is expected to conclude with a moment of silence just before 10:30 a.m., when the second of the twin towers fell.
Houses of worship will be encouraged to toll their bells, and family members of the victims will be invited to descend a ramp seven stories to the footprint of the twin towers. Each family will pick up a rose and place it in a vase for an arrangement that will be preserved for a permanent memorial.
"Sept. 11, that date, will live in people's hearts and minds for generations just as the date Dec. 7 will never be forgotten," Pataki said.
At sunset, world leaders -- possibly including President Bush -- will light an eternal flame at a temporary memorial a few blocks from ground zero.
At candlelight vigils around the city, including Central Park, New Yorkers will be asked to reflect and listen to music from the city's orchestras.
"Our intent," Bloomberg said, "is to have a day of observances that are simple and powerful."
More than a dozen Broadway theaters will go dark that day, but Bloomberg said he expects that most businesses will remain open and that students will go to class. "We will carry on our responsibilities to our families and to our city," Bloomberg said.
Bond brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 employees, plans a private remembrance in Central Park. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which lost 75 employees, plans an afternoon memorial.
In May, when the city held a ceremony to mark the end of the cleanup at ground zero, city officials were criticized by family members for not scheduling the observance on a weekend, when more people could attend.
This time, city officials were careful to seek the opinions of family members. They also solicited public opinion last month and received more than 4,000 suggestions on how to mark the first anniversary.
"The mayor and the governor saw to it that this morning belonged to the victims' families," said Christy Ferer, whose husband, Neil Levin, was director of the Port Authority when he was killed.
Although some details remain to be worked out, Sept. 11 ceremonies are also planned at the Pentagon and the rural site near Shanksville, Pa., where the other two hijacked planes crashed.