N.Y. Mayor, Obama Mark Attacks
AUDIE CORNISH, host: I'm Audie Cornish and this is live special coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I'm joined by NPR's Robert Siegel in New York and national security correspondent Tom Gjelten is here with me in Washington. Robert, today's guest at the ceremony in New York include President George Bush and President Obama, but in a few moments we're actually going to have a moment of silence, correct?
ROBERT SIEGEL: Yes. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is actually our host here and we expect him to introduce the day's events. However, running a few minutes late as they are, he's pressing up against the deadline that's just about 90 seconds away which is the first moment of silence that will be observed in the morning. It is the moment at which, at 8:46 a.m. on 9/11 American Airlines flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
And there will be several of these minutes of silence throughout, or moments of silence, throughout the morning. But whether we get to hear from the mayor on time or whether they decide that they have to break for silence first, I don't know. I think they're improvising at this point.
CORNISH: Correct. And we're describing them as a moment of silence but actually house of worship have been asked to toll their bells...
CORNISH: ...at that moment and throughout the day.
Silence at the ceremony. I think Mayor Bloomberg is taking the lectern right now. Here he is.
Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Ten years have passed since a perfect blue-sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then we've lived in sunshine and in shadow. And although we can never un-see what happened here, we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.
In all the years that Americans have looked to these ceremonies, we have shared both words and silences. The words of writers and poets have helped express what is in our hearts. The silences have given us a chance to reflect and remember. And in remembrance of all those who died in New York in 1993 and 2001 at the Pentagon and in fields near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, please join in observing our first moment of silence.
(SOUNDBITE OF A BELL)
CORNISH: This is a moment of silence at ground zero, the ceremonies for the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
Introducing this moment of silence was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Again, this is a moment of silence at ground zero at the World Trade Center.
President BARACK OBAMA: God is our refuge and strength...
CORNISH: And now, President Barack Obama.
OBAMA: ...a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the Earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling, there's a river whose streams shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the Tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved. God shall help her just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved. He uttered his voice. The Earth melted. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the Earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the Earth. He breaks the bough and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the Earths. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)
BLOOMBERG: They were they were our neighbors, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents. They were the ones who rushed into help. Two thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-three innocent men, women and children, we have asked their families...
CORNISH: Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
BLOOMBERG: ...to come here to speak the names out loud, to remind each of us of a person we lost in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania. And they each had a face, a story, a life cut short from under them. As we listen, let us recall the words of Shakespeare: Let us not measure our sorrow by their worth, for then it will have no end.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: For Luke A. Aamoth, Jr., Edelmiro Abad, Maria Rose Abad, Andrew Anthony Abate, Vincent Paul Abate, Laurence Christopher Abel, Alana Abraham, William F. Abrahamson, Richard Anthony Aceto, Heinrich Bernard Ackermann, Paul Acquaviva, Christian Adams, Donald LaRoy Adams...
CORNISH: Family members at ground zero reading the names of victims of the 9/11 attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: ...Patrick Adams, Shannon Lewis Adams, Stephen George Adams, Ignatius Udo Adanga, Christy A. Addamo.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: And my beloved son, Joshua Todd Aaron, we miss you and love you forever. You're always in our hearts.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #4: And my sister, Marlyn Capito Bautista., we love you and we miss you. You're always in our hearts.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #5: Terence Edward Adderley, Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sophia B. Addo.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #5: Lee Adler.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Daniel Thomas Afflitto.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #5: Emmanuel Akwasi Afuakwah.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Alok Agarwal...
CORNISH: This is live special coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Right now, we are at the ceremony at the ground zero site at the World Trade Center. And Robert Siegel is in New York.
And, Robert, talk a little bit about what we just saw in quick succession. It was President Barack Obama, also Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
SIEGEL: Yes. President Obama, what I believe from the 46th Psalm, which is a remarkably appropriate - Though the Earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters roar and be troubled and the mountains shake - it's an expression of faith in spite of all that. Then we heard Mayor Bloomberg introduce the reading of the names.
What'll happen throughout the day is 167 pairs of readers, that's a total of 334 people, who are typically relatives of the victims of 9/11, will read a group of the names in alphabetical order, including their own loved one who died that day. And I think we're now up to perhaps the third group of those 167 pairs.
Throughout the morning, there will be interruptions of pauses in this reading, I should say. The next one that is scheduled is at 9:03 A.M., in about - what is that? Almost 10 minutes?
CORNISH: Correct and...
SIEGEL: Which will...
CORNISH: That's observing the time when United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower.
SIEGEL: Struck the South Tower. There will also be performances of music by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, by James Taylor, by Paul Simon. But the main thread of this entire memorial will be occasional readings by the governors of the two states, performances by the artists I mentioned, but essentially it's the readings of the names of the people who perished here. And that has been the annual anniversary here at 9/11 ever since then.
CORNISH: Yes, all - nearly 3,000 names are read. It usually takes the better part of the day.
SIEGEL: Yes, just under 3,000 people. And, of course, what will be different after all this event will be the opening of the memorial that's just behind the stage where the readers are standing. But that will happen first for these very family members of the victims of 9/11, and only open to the public gradually over time.
CORNISH: The president is beginning the day in New York City but he's also going to be traveling to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United 93 - that plane went down; also returning to Washington this evening to lay wreaths at the Pentagon.
Tom Gjelten, can you describe a little bit about what is to happen at the Pentagon today?
TOM GJELTEN: Well, Audie, what we're seeing in New York right now, of course, coincides with the moments when the planes hit the World Trade towers. Shortly, we're going to be shifting attention to the Pentagon. American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon at about 9:40 and we'll have also a moment of silence at that time.
There's going to be a relatively brief ceremony there. Vice President Biden will be there. Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And so and then after that we will be switching to Shanksville. Of course, United Airlines 93 crashed in the field near Shanksville at 10:07. So around that time we'll be going there for, again, a moment of silence to commemorate that exact moment.
CORNISH: And at the Pentagon, I hear that they are expecting upwards of 1,200 family members. And there are 150 survivors of the attack on that building, I didn't know that.
GJELTEN: That's right. And, Audie, of course the memorial at the Pentagon has been finished for some time, unlike the memorial at Shanksville which was just unveiled yesterday, and the memorials in New York which are still, of course, in the process of being elaborated. We do have a finished memorial at the Pentagon.
I was at the Pentagon, of course, a year after the 9/11. I was there on 9/11 originally and then for - there have been ceremonies at the Pentagon on each successive year.
CORNISH: And I want to turn now back to New York for a moment. Again, pairs of family members have come forward to read the names of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: Thomas J. Ashton.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #7: Manuel O. Asitimbay.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: Gregg Arthur Atlas.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #7: Gerald Thomas Atwood.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: James Audiffred.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #7: Louis F. Aversano, Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: Ezra Aviles.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #7: Sandy Ayala.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: Arlene T. Babakitis.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #7: And my dad, Michael Baksh.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: And my sister, Melissa Yvette White. We love you, we miss you and we'll never forget you.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Eustace R. Bacchus.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: John J. Badagliacca.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Jane Ellen Baeszler.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Robert J. Baierwalter.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Andrew J. Bailey.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Brett T. Bailey.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Garnet A. Bailey.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Tatyana Bakalinskaya.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Michael S. Baksh.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Sharon M. Balkcom.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Michael Andrew Bane.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Katherine Bantis.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Gerard Baptiste.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Walter Baran.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: Gerard A. Barbara.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Paul Vincent Barbaro.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: James William Barbella.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: Victor Daniel Barbosa.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #8: And I'm here today in honor of my father, and Port Authority employee, James William Barbella.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #9: And my Uncle and Godfather, firefighter Matthew Barnes
CORNISH: I want to take a moment to say that if you want to participate with us or go to our website and describe your emotions of this day, and take part in our interactive project, it's called September 11th: Then And Now, in one word. It's our website, NPR.org.
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