Pataki urges reflection on Sept. 11

Aug. 24, 2002 at 5:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- New York's Gov. George Pataki Friday said he wants people to remember the events of Sept. 11 in a low-key way, and for New Yorkers to observe four moments of silence and at 10:29, the moment the second Twin Tower collapsed, for all bells in the state to toll.

"It's very important to never forget the heroes lost on that day, but it's also very important to not forget the pride and positive way that America responded," Pataki said in a news conference in the Capitol in Albany, N.Y.

The governor asked people to pause on Sept. 11 for a moment of silence at:

8:46 a.m., when the American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower; 9:03 a.m., when United Flight 175 crashed into the south tower; 9:59 a.m., when the south tower collapsed, and 10:29 a.m., when the north tower fell.

All municipal and church bells in the state should ring in unison at 10:29 in unity of grief and of hope, according to the Pataki. Pataki requested houses of worship in the state be open day and night to allow people to reflect on the "extraordinarily difficult events" of last year whether it's 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.

"If someone at six in the morning wants to go in to reflect, or even that evening, we think it's appropriate," Pataki said. At "Ground Zero," the first moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. will begin a 102-minute ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks followed by the reading of each of the 2,823 victims names after which "Taps" will be played.

Pataki will read the Gettysburg Address and New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey will read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence. The memorial service will conclude at 10:29 a.m., with the tolling of bells.

In Albany, an interfaith ceremony beside the Hudson River will occur that morning and an evening candlelight vigil will occur beside the Empire State Plaza's reflecting pools.

Throughout the day, the families of those lost on Sept. 11 will, for the first time, be invited to descend the ramp to the lowest level of the World Trade Center site, according to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "We will ask them to take a rose, put it in a vase and we will save those roses and make them part of the permanent memorial when it is eventually built," the mayor said.

Later on Sept. 11, President George W. Bush will visit Ground Zero and at sunset, there will be an observance at The Sphere, the sculpture that once stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center that is now part of the temporary memorial to the victims in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Heads of state from around the world will be invited to join that ceremony during which an eternal flame will be lit and Bloomberg will read Franklin Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms."

Bloomberg asked the public to submit suggestions for the anniversary service and more than 1,400 people responded. Tops on the list was no speeches by politicians, and for that reason, the Republican mayor said he chose that only appropriate historic documents be read.

However, Democratic Party officials said they felt shut out of the anniversary ceremony and planned to broadcast an advertisement with prominent party members reading the Gettysburg Address on either Sept. 10, the day of the state gubernatorial primary, or Sept. 12.

Democratic officials said politics had nothing to do with their decision to produce the advertisement to honor the dead. However, The New York Times reported that "Democratic officials have acknowledged concern over the exposure that Pataki and other Republicans would get at the public ceremony and that the text for the ad was chosen months before (the New York City ceremony's) plans were announced."

It was reported that Bloomberg reached out to the state's top Democrat, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, to discourage the ad. Shortly after, it was announced the Democratic ad was to be dropped and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and state Comptroller H. Carl McCall -- all Democrats -- would be invited to read the names of the dead at the anniversary ceremony.

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