Families of the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the terror attacks on the United States gathered at ground zero Sunday morning for the unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial and to remember that tragic September 11th morning ten years ago.
“I will remember you. Will you remember me? Don’t let your life pass you by. Weep not for the memories…”
The Brooklyn Youth Choir solemnly sang “I Will Remember You” following the conclusion of the heart-wrenching reading of the names of those killed in New York, Pennsylvania, and at The Pentagon.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg concluded, “Generations do not cease to be born. We are responsible for them because we are the only witnesses they have.”
Bloomberg added, “The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”
Trumpeters played “Taps” in closing to this poignant ceremony of remembrance.
Family members took tracings of the names of their loved ones etched into the bronze of the memorials that now stand in the north and south towers footprints of the former World Trade Center.
Others embraced each other in comfort, and for those watching, the pain of that tragic September morning was seen in the tears of the families in attendance.
“My brother – a family man, a navy man, and a holy man. I know you’ve got the wind at your back and God is holding you in the palm of his hand,” one woman said, her voice cracking, as she paid tribute to her brother.
A lost husband was remembered, “Frankie, my love for you is as strong and endless like the wedding rings we exchanged. My husband, keep watching over us. God bless you. We love you.”
With tears in their eyes and wavering voices, yet exhibiting a quiet strength, many wives, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers stood in front of thousands – remembering their loved ones.
Despite the decision by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to not include religious leaders as part of the 9/11 Memorial, religious references still made its way into the ceremony in the addresses by President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.
"God is our refuge and strength," said President Obama, quoting Psalm 46 from the Bible, following an observed moment of silence that marked the first hijacked jet crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. ten years ago.
“…God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved,” continued Obama as he stood before the white oak trees of the new 9/11 Memorial.
Former President George W. Bush also spoke, reading the “Bixby letter” of condolence that President Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1864 to a mother who lost five sons in the Civil War:
"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
The American Flag blew in the wind – a symbol of the country’s strength and a reminder that America will always rise from the ashes.
A last moment of silence was noted for the collapse of the north tower of the World Trade Center, which fell at 10:28 a.m.
9/11 ceremonies also took place at the Pentagon, in Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93, the fourth and final plane plunged into a field after a passenger revolt against the terrorist hijackers stopped it from reaching its presumed target in Washington.