Friday, September 11, 2009

I remember well this beautiful view...

Writer Denis McGrath wrote this touching piece in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City:

I REMEMBER WELL this beautiful view, and the numbers of times I marveled from this vantage. It rose so improbably on that crowded island. You'd stand and try to see that statue below in the harbor, but the scale was off. It wasn't human scaled, but so very much larger. And while we all wait for something to rise in its place, and in our hearts -- I guess the real lesson is to start building something of your own. The sky is big. It always was. And it's still there. It always is.

- Denis McGrath, Television producer, writer, journalist

Image source: Denis McGrath

Obama leads US in September 11 commemoration

US President Barack Obama led a moment of silence Friday to launch eighth anniversary commemorations of the September 11 attacks in 2001 when 3,000 people died in the world's deadliest terror strike. At exactly 8:46 am (1246 GMT) when the first plane piloted by Al-Qaeda hijackers slammed into the North tower of New York's World Trade Center, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stood with heads bowed outside the White House.

It was the first time that Obama, who was driving to work as a state senator in Illinois when he learned of the attacks on the radio, had led the national remembrance ceremonies as president. Obama stepped out in front of the South Portico of the White House, with First Lady Michelle Obama, who was wearing a black dress. After three chimes played by a US Marine in ceremonial dress, the first couple bowed their heads and observed the moment of silence, joined by around 150 members of the White House staff.

Obama raised his head, and put his hand over his heart as a Marine bugler played a haunting rendition of Taps, the military lament played over soldiers' graves. Above, the huge American flag on top of the White House hung limply at half-mast. For hours before the ceremony, rain had sluiced Washington, but moments before Obama and the First Lady appeared the rain tapered off and they were able to stand bare-headed. As soon as they returned to the White House, the deluge resumed.

The President later headed to the Pentagon to lay a wreath and make remarks at the spot where another hijacked airliner crashed, on a day which sent shock waves around the world and left a political legacy Obama is still trying to master. In a message carried on the front page of the New York Daily News, Obama declared "we are all New Yorkers" and that the attacks "will be forever seared in the consciousness of our nation."

At New York's Ground Zero, all that is left of the two huge towers that were toppled in wave of fire and debris by fuel-laden planes, volunteers read the names of the 2,752 people killed in the strike at the heart of US might.

Read more AP.