Families Of Sept. 11 Victims Remember Those Killed

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New York City honored the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with an early morning ceremony where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The ceremony included the reading of the victims' names, moments of silence, and readings by both President Obama and former President George W. Bush. The families of the victims paid their respects, as they mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

GUY RAZ, Host:

We have three reports now from those sites. We begin with NPR's Jim Zarroli at the former site of the World Trade Center towers in New York.

JIM ZARROLI: The sun hadn't yet risen when the victims' families began gathering at the World Trade Center site. The mood was somber, the grief for most still raw after a decade. Marina Benedetto(ph) was returning to the site for the first time in 10 years. When the attacks occurred, Benedetto was going to school nearby. She rushed over to find her mother who worked in tower two, but her mother's body was never found.

MARINA BENEDETTO: It doesn't get easier. Everybody thinks, oh, time heals all wounds and it doesn't. And it's hard because they never recovered my mother, so there's, like, there's no closure.


ZARROLI: The day unfolded solemnly. President Obama read a Bible verse.

BARACK OBAMA: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

ZARROLI: The president was followed by former President George W. Bush, who read the famous letter from Lincoln to a Massachusetts woman who had lost five sons in the Union Army. Much of the day was given over to what has by now become a familiar ritual: the reading of the names of the almost 3,000 people who died in the September 11th attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Manuel O. Asitimbay.

WOMAN: Gregg A. Atlas.

ZARROLI: The readings were interrupted several times by moments of silence to mark the exact times when the planes went down.


ZARROLI: What was different this year was the opening of the 9/11 Memorial. It features two enormous reflecting pools built in the footprints of the original towers next to a grove of white oaks. The victims' names are inscribed in bronze panels, and family members were allowed to walk around the plaza making pencil rubbings of the inscriptions.

Rosaria Reneo, whose only sister died in the attacks, was among those who came to see the new memorial.

ROSARIA RENEO: My children asked me not to come. And I thought about not coming only for them, but I have to be here. I can't not be here.

ZARROLI: Reneo's sister, Daniela Rosalia Notaro, was a secretary at Carr Futures. They never located her remains.

RENEO: This is her final resting place, and I don't want people to forget. I believe that a memorial is very important to most of the families. And you need a place to come and remember your loved ones and remember what happened.

ZARROLI: But the city is also moving on, and no better proof of that could be seen than in the new office tower rising over the plaza. One World Trade Center is scheduled to open in 2013, part of a new complex of buildings going up here. The city hopes the new trade center will revitalize the neighborhood without forgetting the many people who died here a decade ago. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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