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At Ground Zero, New York Mayor Bloomberg also remembers London and Katrina victims

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 12, 2005 07:00 AM
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Sunday marked a somber fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, with more than 600 siblings of those who perished at New York City’s World Trade Center returning to the site and promising their dead brothers and sisters that they would never be forgotten.

“My big sister, my better half, life will never be the same without you,” Rolando Moreno said to Yvette Moreno, one of the 2,749 victims who died at the complex that fateful day. Thousands of relatives held pictures of their loved ones over their heads, while others carried flowers. Some sobbed during the four-hour ceremony.

The mourners paused for moments of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the north tower; at 9:03 a.m., when the second plane struck the south tower; at 9:59 a.m., when the south tower fell; and at 10:29 a.m., when the second tower collapsed.

“You were my baby brother, I took care of you,” Iliana Flores told her paramedic brother, Carlos Lillo, as she choked up and raised her face to the sky, the Associated Press reports. “I still miss you a lot. You’re taking care of us from heaven but someday we’ll be together.”

Last year, parents and grandparents read the victims’ names at Ground Zero, while children’s voices were heard in 2003. A selection of politicians, relatives and others read the names on the first anniversary. This year, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the ceremony with words of condolence for those devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the July terrorist bombings in the London Underground.

The 9/11 anniversary was also marked in New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss., where New York firefighters helping with the relief efforts gathered around a makeshift memorial for their fallen comrades, accepting the gift of a bell from a nearby church whose steeple was destroyed in the storm.

In Shanksville, Pa., about 1,000 people attended a memorial service for the 40 passengers and crew members who perished when Flight 93 crashed into a field after those aboard struggled with the hijackers flying it toward Washington.

President Bush marked the anniversary of the attacks with his wife on the South Lawn of the White House, as throngs of people marched in Washington. On 9/11, 125 service members, employees and contract workers died in the attack on the Pentagon.