10 Years Later, NYC Honors 9/11 Victims With Tribute In Light, Solemn Ceremony

All Day And Night Affair At Ground Zero Personifies New Yorkers' Resilience

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks drew to a close Sunday night, low clouds diffused the twin beams of the Tribute in Light, spreading a halo over Lower Manhattan.

“It’s like we’re closer to heaven. That’s what I see. They’re closer to us. All those that passed are closer to us,” Brooklyn resident Ginny Katz told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

“I think it says something else, too, because look around, this city is still resilient. It’s still strong,” Howard Hooper of Germany added. “Even though that’s a ghastly reminder of what happened, it hasn’t bent the city. The city is still strong and I think it will survive and I think it will get stronger.”

Though the tribute echoes the original Twin Towers, thousands marked the solemn occasion in the shadow of a new World Trade Center.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports 

The emotional ceremony began Sunday morning with the singing of the National Anthem by the Brooklyn Youth Choir followed by a procession of bagpipers from the Fire Department, Police Department and the Port Authority.

It’s been a decade of grief since that day of destruction. September 11, 2001 started as a crystal clear Tuesday morning but ended with raging fire and clouds of dust.

With the 9/11 memorial finally taking shape, this year’s ceremony was held at a place of peace. There is the reflecting pool, with water that falls into the voids of the towers, and the trees that surround it, reaching for the sky to where the towers once stood.

Photos: NYC 9/11 Ceremony |The 9/11 Memorial | 9/11 Around The World | Flight 93 Memorial

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

President Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush, joined by their wives, arrived at the 9/11 memorial in New York City around 8 a.m.

Earlier Sunday morning, workers put the finishing touches on the memorial, which opened for the first time to victims’ families.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports

The two walked around the reflecting pool, running their hands over the names of those killed, engraved in bronze, before stopping to speak with some of the families of 9/11 victims and dignitaries.

124637427 10 Years Later, NYC Honors 9/11 Victims With Tribute In Light, Solemn Ceremony

(L-R) President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama visit the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2011 in New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Photo credit should: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the first to speak at Sunday’s ceremony.

“They were our neighbors, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents. They were the ones who rushed in to help,” said Bloomberg. “2,983 innocent men, women and children. Each had a face, a story, a life cut short from under them.”

He led the first moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time Flight 11 hit the north tower.

Obama then delivered the first reading, reciting Psalm 46 from the Bible.

“God is our refuge and strength,” he read. “He dwells in his city, does marvelous things and says, be still and know that I am God.”

Watch The Ceremony: Part 1| Part 2| Part 3| Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Family members then took the podium and began reading the names of the 2,977 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Listen To The Ceremony:
Part 1 Program begins, bagpippers and drummers with WTC flag, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, moment of silence (AA#11), President Barack Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Reading of names begins.
Part 2 Moment of silence (United # 175), Former President George W. Bush, Peter Negron, Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach, Honor Guard.
Part 3 Mayor Michael Bloomberg, moment of silence (AA # 77), Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Former NYPD officer James Smith and daughter Patricia Smith, James Taylor sings “Close Your Eyes.”
Part 4 Moment of silence (fall of south tower), Gov. Chris Christie, solo flautist Emi Ferguson performs “Amazing Grace.”
Part 5 Moment of silence (United # 93), Former Gov. George Pataki.
Part 6 Moment of silence (fall of north tower), former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Debra Epps, Paul Simon performs “Sounds of Silence.”
Part 7 Former Gov. Donald DiFrancesco.
Part 8 Reading of names concludes, choral performance of “I Will Remember You,” Taps performed by four trumpeters (NYPD, FDNY, PAPD, and US military).

For the first time this year, the names of those killed on Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon and Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Penn., as well as the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, were also read aloud during the ceremony.

Of the family members who spoke Sunday was Peter Negron. His father worked on the 88th floor of the north tower. Peter was 11-years-old on Sept. 11th and heard about the attacks while he was sitting in class at school.

“I hope that I can make my father proud of the young men that my brother and I have become,” he said. “I miss you so much dad.”

2,977 people were killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and six were killed in the 1993 attack.

As the names of the victims were being read, family members gathered around the reflecting pool making pencil rubbings of their loved ones’ engravings.

The second moment of silence was at 9:03 a.m., the time Flight 175 hit the south tower.

Former President Bush then gave a reading, a letter written by Abraham Lincoln.

“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,” Bush read.

At 9:37 a.m., another moment of silence marking when Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo then took the stage.

“Freedom from fear anywhere in the world. That is our goal and our strength is in our unity of purpose,” Cuomo read. “To that high concept, there can be no end save victory.”

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports

The fourth moment of silence was at 9:59 a.m. when the south tower fell.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie then gave a reading followed by a rendition of Amazing Grace.

“If I should die and leave you here awhile, be not like others sore undone, who keep long vigil by the silent dust. For my sake, turn again to life and smile,” Christie read.

After reading several names, 12-year-old Patricia Smith honored her late mother Police Officer Moira Smith. “Mom, I am proud to be your daughter,” she said. “You will always be my hero.”

124650508 10 Years Later, NYC Honors 9/11 Victims With Tribute In Light, Solemn Ceremony

Rita Agnelo touches the name of her son, Joseph Agnelo who was killed on 9/11 during the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site, September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images)

At 10:03 a.m. was the fifth moment of silence when Flight 93 crashed in a field near Shanksville, Penn.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki then spoke of the first responders who gave their lives on 9/11.

“May God bless those heroes we lost on Sept. 11th, the brave men and women who responded so courageously,” Pataki said. “The heroes we’ve lost since that date defending our freedom and the men and women today who risk their lives here and abroad to defend our freedom.”

Francesa Picerno talked of her father Matthew Picerno, who died at the trade center. “We miss and love you so much. I have your smile, your eyes, and your laugh, but I just don’t have you.”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

The sixth and final moment of silence came at 10:28 a.m. when the north tower fell.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was in office on Sept. 11th, then read a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3:4.

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Giuliani read.

He also said, “God bless every soul that we lost. And God guide us to our reunion in heaven. And God bless the United States of America.”

Former Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco of New Jersey also read a passage.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and singers James Taylor and Paul Simon also performed.

Overlooking the memorial was the world’s largest free-flying American flag, hanging on the south side of 1 World Trade Center.

Please share your thoughts below…

  • carrie

    I watched the ceremony from ground zero and also the the ceremonies from the penatagon and pennsylvania.

    The service in ny was the only one in which there was no prayer, no religious representative.

    Watching the other ceremonies with the included parayers was more conforting than just the the solemn moments of silence.

    What does bloomberg have against prayer at the site of a mass murder?

    He is a disgrace.

  • J

    Everyone In America must always be willing to lay down their life upon the alter of freedom!

    • Hassam Al-Behir

      You first please, I’ll be along directly

  • American Patriot

    Why didn’t they mention building 7 which fell on the same day, a 57 story tall building that fell at free fall speed, like the steel structure didn’t exist and the concrete just turned to dust, first time in recorded history a building fire did that. Why did they barr the 1st responders, firemen and police who were there that day on the scene. 9/11 was an inside job and anyone who refuses to research the facts and all the facts are just as bad the the ones who killed all those people along with our freedom.


      You have to understand, they are not done with us yet, why else would they be trying (successfully I may add) to make everyone more sad and paranoid? The people behind 911 were really evil, but they are the same people that we saved from the jaws of the NAZI juggernaut during the 40’ss, and they are hosted by the very forces that are in existance to protect us, the US government

    • michaelfury
  • karen s

    it was sad the city was required to give a permit to the westboro kansas “church.” these are the sorry excuses for oxgen consumption on the planet who protest at military funerals and spew their rubbish. my nephew served 2 tours in iraq to protect freedom of speech, not freedom of screech. go back to where you came from, and hope for an early end to tornado season or we may have a remake of the wizard of oz. how inappropriate they were allowed to stand on broadway, whose other name is canyon of the heroes.

  • Wendy Kelly Budd

    RIP all those innocent people. You will never be forgotten.


    We will never forget. USA will always be number one.

  • let it be known

    Nine eleven was an in side j o b

  • ses

    A policeman saluting what looks like a sewer drain?
    Worst image of 9/11/11.

  • IVAN



      What’s the big lie? It never happened? It’s funny how Nazi lovers like you spew nonsense and can’t back any of it up. I will pray for you.

  • kevin

    Let us reflect on what caused September 11. America’s bias support of israel is the main cause for September 11. so many american lives have been destroyed only to protect israel, while israel could not care less about Americans.

    • David Ben- Solomon

      There is a saying in the middle east about giving up arms and war.
      “If the Palastines gave up their arms today there would be peace in the area by tomorrow morning If the Israelis gave up their arms today, there would be no israeli left alive tomorrow.”

    • Therese

      Right you a$$ hol e. Israel is the ONLY country outside US that has a 911 memorial to honor the deaths of every person killed in the towers.

      Maybe you and your president the anti israel POTUS should get together.


  • pugphan

    How can you have any kind of solemnity without God or HIS representatives here on earth. Shame shame shame! smokersodysseycom

    • landon

      God is always with you. You don’t need anyone to give you permission.

    • Really

      SOOOOOOO…… The Jews Don’t Suck?

    • Millie

      I agree with you 100%. The NY memeorial service was the only one that did not have a prayer service and words from any clergy.

      Services in DC and PA did have prayers.

      So Bloomberg is an godless creature andmakes the rules for all I guess.

      Also no first responders which is beyound outrageous.

      Cemeteries are places for prayers, which is what ground zero is.

      People were so distraught, wounds open again.


  • JFK

    This recounted story of nine-eleven “Destruction of the Twin Peaks” can be read here:

  • Jason A

    A measure which has not been suggested by the federal government is that of re-issuing the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that restricted banks from investing in stocks or holding securities. It expired in 1999, and former President Clinton did not renew it.
    Banks make more money investing in stocks and securities than in making small business loans.
    Reenacting this law would force banks back into loan-making, which would almost certainly revive the practice of starting small businesses, and save the middle class.


    if another republican becomes president this will happen again!!

  • Sue J

    Hey WCCO what did you do with my comments??????

  • CBS Disclaimer

    Don’t bother sharing any thoughts that does not conform to our agendas. It will be Censored according to our Free Speech ideology.

    • fair & balanced ?

      It happens repetedly, its a j ew is h thing

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