THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

13. US remembers 9/11

Let not this ghastly horror be repeated or allowed to be repeated in any part of the world again. Ever. Let us share this moment of grief with the families of the departed. May their souls rest in peace.

The United States marked the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks Tuesday with solemn ceremonies but still haunted by Osama bin Laden, who used the anniversary to praise the hijackers who carried out the attacks.

In an overcast New York, families of the 2,749 people killed when two planes ploughed into the World Trade Center twin towers paid their respects near the site as rescue workers read the names of the dead, in what has now become an annual ritual.

With heads bowed, holding photographs of the dead and fighting to hold back the tears, relatives listened as the grim roll call was read out.

"We come together again as New Yorkers and as Americans to share a loss that can't be measured and to remember the names of those who can't be replaced," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, opening the commemorations.

As in previous years, Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden used the anniversary to release two videotapes, mocking the United States, threatening to escalate the unpopular war in Iraq and praising hijacker Walid al-Shehri as a "champion."

Shehri was on American Airlines Flight 11, the first jet to crash into the World Trade Center in New York. The video also featured Shehri, in the sixth such last will and testament issued by one of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where hijackers brought down United Airlines Flight 93 in a field after a passenger uprising, tributes were held to honor the 40 passengers and crew killed there.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates meanwhile led a ceremony in Washington for the 184 people killed when American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon.

"The enemies of America -- the enemies of our values -- will never again rest easily for we will hunt them down relentlessly and without reservations," Gates said at the ceremony.

The Defense Department at the weekend honored the dead and showed support for US troops, more than 4,100 of whom have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since Bush declared a "war on terror" in response to the attacks.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said that Washington was still intent on capturing bin Laden, but said the war on terror was "not a war against one guy, Osama bin Laden. It is against a network."

The centerpiece of the commemorations in New York was more muted than in past years. Last year, President George W. Bush laid a wreath at Ground Zero but this year attended a private memorial service and observed a moment of silence in Washington.

In the evening, a "Tribute in Light" was to project two massive beams of light into the night sky above Ground Zero to symbolize the collapsed towers - AFP.