The 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center was marked with a special ceremony, which brought out over 7,000 people as the National September 11 Memorial opened to victims’ families.
Heightened security following a terror threat days before surrounded the ceremony and a somber mood engulfed the crowd of people gathered at the National September 11 Memorial to mourn the loss of the 2,983 people who died in the attack.
The ceremony, which began at 8:35 a.m., paused at six moments - twice to mark the times that each plane hit the towers, twice to mark the time when each tower fell, and to mark the moments of the attacks on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93.
Victims’ families read the names of those who perished in the 2001 attack, those who died at the Pentagon and on Flight 93, as well as the six victims of the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993.
Many in the crowd were seen holding up posters with pictures and names of lost loved ones.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the opening remarks, followed by President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, and Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Governor George Pataki, among others.
Many emotional family members took to the podium for the almost five-hour long ceremony.
Ava Baksh choked back tears as she read her father, Michael S. Baksh’s name.
Peter Negron gave a moving speech about his father, Pete, who worked on the 88th floor of the World Trade Center.
“He was awesome,” he said. “My brother Austin had just turned two when he passed. I've tried to teach him all the things my father taught me: how catch a baseball, how to ride a bike, and to work hard in school. My dad always said how important it was.”
The family has since moved to Florida.
“I wish my dad had been there to teach me how to drive, ask a girl out on a date, and see me graduate from high school," Negron said. "And a hundred other things I can’t even begin to name.”
Leon Smith was a 49-year-old firefighter working out of Ladder 118 in Park Slope when he perished trying to save lives on September 11.
“He was a tremendous person, certainly like everyone here,” said his colleague and friend, Craig Kelly, a retired lieutenant of the Bridgeport, Connecticut, Fire Department.
Smith left behind two daughters.
Nancy Novaro was there for the 10th year mourning the loss of Catherine Lisa LoGuidice, who would have been her sister-in-law on October 31, 2001.
The 30-year-old Lindenhurst resident worked at Cantor and Fitzgerald, on the 105h Floor of the North Tower.
Five years later on that same day, LoGuidice’s father passed away.
“It devastated the family to have two September 11’s…he passed away the same time the bells were ringing for the towers,” Novaro said. “It’s a hard time of year for us to get through.”
The Memorial at the WTC site opened to the public on Monday, September 12.
Consisting of a pair of pools in the footprint of the Twin Towers, it is surrounded by bronze panels, each with the names of 9/11 victims etched into them. Each pool is approximately an acre in size and 30-foot waterfalls cascade down all sides. Hundreds of white oak trees line the surrounding plaza.
The names of all the victims in the 2001 attacks on the buildings, the Pentagon, Flight 93 and the 1996 WTC bombing are inscribed into the bronze panels. Some of the names appearing alongside each other represent a bond that the victims formed in their last minutes.
Although the Memorial is officially open to the public, due to ongoing construction on surrounding WTC site projects, members of the public need to reserve free, timed passes to visit. The passes can be obtained at www.911memorial.org.
The Memorial, as well as the 9/11 Memorial Museum, occupies half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site. The museum is set to open in September 2012.