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The last pilgrimage of pain to The Pit: Bloomberg, Giuliani remember 9/11

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The last pilgrimage of pain to The Pit: Bloomberg, Giuliani remember 9/11

BY ADAM LISBERG, STEPHANIE GASKELL AND CORKY SIEMASZKO

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

September 11th 2008

 

alg_wtcmemorial.jpg

Handschuh/News

Mourners leave flowers at a makeshift memorial in The Pit symbolizing

the footprints of the Twin Towers.

 

Mourners leave flowers at a makeshift memorial in The Pit symbolizing the footprints of the Twin Towers.

 

Once again the bells tolled. Once again the victims' names were read. Once again New York and the nation paused to mark the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

 

And for what's likely to be the last time, once again there was a pilgrimage of pain into The Pit.

 

Seven years after that terrible morning when terrorists in hijacked airliners struck, construction has overtaken the sacred site where the twin towers once stood.

 

So it was with especially heavy steps that the grieving relatives, cops and firefighters ventured down Thursday into the bowels of Ground Zero, to leave white, pink and red roses on the footprints of the fallen World Trace Center towers.

 

Some, their faces glazed with tears, fell to their knees and prayed. Others sobbed silently and leaned on each other for support. Others looked around and stored away the memories, knowing this could be the last time.

 

Maureen Hunt, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of her slain sister Kathleen, had marched into the crucible several times before. This time, she stood in Zuccotti Park with dozens of other relatives who arrived well before dawn.

 

"This is a place for us to meet," said Hunt. "It is not getting easier to attend these ceremonies."

 

On the morning of the attack, the skies were blue and the day was summery. There were no blue skies to mock the mourners on Thursday.

 

Instead, threatening clouds gathered overhead and a cool breeze brought with it hints of the fall to come.

 

Silence reigned at 8:46 a.m., the moment when the first hijacked plane struck the towers. Then the roll call of victims were read - a lengthy list of 2,751 names.

 

"Today marks the seventh anniversary of the day our world was broken," Mayor Bloomberg said. "It lives forever in our hearts and our history, a tragedy that unites us in a common memory and a common story."

 

Then, at 9:03 a.m., the moment when the second plane struck, another moment of silence was observed.

 

"Try to praise the mutilated world," said New Jersey Gov. Corzine, reading the haunting words of Polish poet Adam Zagajewski.

 

Rudy Giuliani, who led New York through the tragedy, was also on tap to speak.

 

Last year, when Giuliani was a presidential candidate, his presence was criticized by some family members who blamed him and the Republicans for leaving New York and the country vulnerable to a terror attack.

 

This year, there were no protests when Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, announced they would visit Ground Zero to pay their respects in the afternoon. Both candidates agreed weeks ago to pull their campaign ads for the day.

 

In Washington, President Bush marked the sad anniversary with a somber ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. In Arlington, Va., Defense Secretary Robert Gates was scheduled to speak at a ceremony dedicating the memorial at the Pentagon, where a third hijacked plane struck.

 

Services will also be held in Shanksville, Pa., where one of the hijacked planes crashed after passengers stormed the cockpit to thwart terrorists' plans to use that plane as a weapon.

 

At dusk, twin shafts of light generated by powerful spotlights in lower Manhattan will create a ghostly evocation of the lost towers - and fill the still-heartbreaking gap in the skyline.

 

-------------------------

 

Also being discussed here.

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Hopefully the sad pit of lack of progress in rebuilding will be resolved so the families, and other people affected that day, including me, can see something fill that gap in the skyline, instead of a big dirty equipment & mud filled hole in the ground.

 

I will never forget.

 

- A

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