6th Anniversary of 9/11
AMY WESTFELDT and SARA KUGLER / AP 11sep2007
George W. Bush, Mrs. Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Mrs. Lynne Cheney bow their heads for a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, 11 Sept. 2007, in memory of those whose lives were lost on 11 Sept. 2001. Below is a photo of people at the ceremony in NYC.
Victims' families huddled under umbrellas Tuesday in a park to mark the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the first remembrance ceremony not held at ground zero, an event that failed to evoke the same emotions as the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center site.
"I guess they mean well, but I really wasn't happy," said Sal Romagnolo, whose son, Joseph Romagnolo, worked in the trade center's north tower. "I never got my son back. That's the only place we have."
"I get nothing out of this park."
Around the country, Americans went through familiar mourning rituals as they looked back on the day when terrorists hijacked four jetliners and killed nearly 3,000 people.
President Bush attended ceremonies at the White House and the Pentagon, and the 40 passengers and crew members who died when a flight crashed into a Pennsylvania field were honored as "citizen soldiers."
The Manhattan ceremonies were held largely in a public park because of rebuilding at ground zero. First responders, volunteers and firefighters who helped rescue New Yorkers from the collapsing twin towers read the names of the city's 2,750 victims — a list that grew by one with the addition of a woman who died of lung disease in 2002.
Several first responders referred to the illnesses and deaths of their colleagues that they blame on exposure to toxic dust.
"I want to acknowledge those lost post-9/11 as a result of answering the call, including police officer NYPD James Zadroga," said volunteer ambulance worker Reggie Cervantes-Miller. Zadroga, 34, died more than a year ago of respiratory illness after spending hundreds of hours working to clean up ground zero.
Victims' spouses, children, siblings and parents had read names before, often breaking down with heartrending messages to their loved ones and blowing kisses to the sky. At Zuccotti Park, where the sounds of trucks and buses sometimes drown out speakers, fewer tears were shed and most readers did not speak at length — even when mentioning siblings or children who were killed.
Hundreds streamed out of the ceremony after about an hour and fewer than 60 remained at the end. The city estimated 3,500 family members and mourners turned out, down from 4,700 attendees at the fifth anniversary. Some might have been kept away by rain, a sharp contrast from the picture-perfect weather six years ago. For the first time since 2001, Sept. 11 fell on a Tuesday.
Ground zero "was more sacred and sad," said Clarence White, whose brother was killed at the trade center. At the park, he said, "the meaning wasn't as close."
The city moved the ceremony this year because of progressing construction at the site, where several idle cranes overlooked a partially built transit hub, 1,776-foot office tower and Sept. 11 memorial.
But family members had threatened to boycott the ceremony and hold their own remembrance if they were not granted access. The city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — which owns the trade center site — allowed relatives to descend a ramp to lay flowers inside a reflecting pool with two 6-foot outlines of the towers inside, and touch the ground where the trade center once stood.
Howard Gabler, who worked on the 47th floor of the trade center's north tower and escaped on the day of the attack, came to mourn his son, Fredric, who worked on the 104th floor of the same tower. He has no remains of his son.
"This is where he died and we have nothing else," Gabler said. "It's very painful, it's very painful all the time, but today was, I guess, worse knowing we're not going to be back down there.
Gabler said he touched the ground, which he fears will not be available to him next year as construction goes on. "So today I kissed my hand and I kissed the ground — I'm still kissing him."
Charlene Morgen, whose cousin, Debora Maldonado, worked at the Marsh & McLennan financial services firm, said the ceremony was different at the park instead of the site.
"The crowd was smaller, it rained for the first time — it was almost like saying goodbye. This is the end," Morgen said.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned to ground zero Tuesday, despite objections by several victims' families and firefighters who said he should not speak at the remembrance because he is running for president. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the ceremony, but did not speak.
But Giuliani was greeted with a smattering of applause after his brief remarks, which followed the third of the traditional four moments of silence: one each to mark the times when the two planes hit the buildings, and two more for when each tower fell.
Giuliani later descended to the trade center site, and one man yelled "Scum! Scum!" at him. Another woman from the family line said she blamed Giuliani for speeding up the search for victims' remains. "Because of Giuliani, we never had closure," said Sabrina Rivera. Giuliani left the area without speaking to reporters.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has presided over each of the anniversary events, described Sept. 11, 2001, as "the day that tore across our history and our hearts. We come together again as New Yorkers and as Americans to share a loss that can't be measured."
As in years past, people clutched framed photos of their lost loved ones, raising them toward the sky, or held multicolored bunches of flowers against their chests.
Similar scenes played out at other anniversary ceremonies.
"As American citizens we're all looking at our heroes," said Kay Roy, whose sister Colleen Fraser, died in the crash over Pennsylvania. "These are our heroes, and I'm glad that one of my family members happens to be one of these heroes."
Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela in New York and Daniel Lovering in Shanksville, Pa., contributed to this report.
Americans See 9/11 as
Most Important Event of Their Lives
Agence France Presse 11sep2007
Six years after the September 11 attacks on the United States, most Americans view the plane hijackings that killed around 3,000 people as the most significant historical event of their lives, according to a poll released Monday.
Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they see the attacks as the most significant historical even of their lifetimes, with more people on the east coast — 90 percent — choosing this view compared to 75 percent on the west coast.
The Zogby International telephone poll surveyed 938 people between September 6 and 9 and has a three-percentage point margin of error.
The poll also showed 61 percent of respondents saying they think of the events at least once a week and 16 percent saying they think of the attacks every day.
A full 91 percent said they believe the United States will be attacked again on US soil.
Sixteen percent said they had personally visited the site of the World Trade Center in New York City to pay tribute to those who died when two passenger jets plunged into the towers and caused them to collapse.
A third jet hijacked by Al-Qaeda militants hit the Pentagon outside Washington, and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
source: Agence France Presse 11sep2007
Giuliani Heckled at Ground Zero
TOM BRUNE / Baltimore Sun 11sep2007
Rudy Giuliani was heckled by two angry New Yorkers at Ground Zero today.
“Scum, scum,” yelled a man as Giuliani and his wife ascended the ramp from a patch of ground where the World Trade Center towers once stood.
But Giuliani also won polite scattered applause from others as he left the stage in Zuccotti Park after reading a passage by Holocaust writer Elie Wiesel.
On the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Guiliani returned in a controversial appearance to commemorate the event that sealed his image as a leader and propels his run for president.
Yet as his reception showed, the former New York City mayor remains a polarizing figure in his own hometown.
To some, like Carole Farnum who lost her son, Giuliani was showing he shares the grief of the victims’ families. To others, like Howard Gabler who lost his son, he was an “opportunist” exploiting a somber ceremony for political gain.
Whether that mixed response will follow him nationally as voters get to know him remains a test as he heads into the decisive fall campaign.
So far, Giuliani has won the steady support of about three in 10 GOP voters, mostly because of his image as a leader and his close identification with 9/11, several pollsters say.
But a CBS/New York Times poll yesterday suggests those positives may not equal victory: He has no advantage over rivals on who best would handle terrorism, and some voters feel a former New York mayor cannot relate to their concerns.
Yesterday also showed it is difficult for Giuliani to separate the personal from the political.
He spoke on broad themes. New Yorkers showed “uncompromising strength and resilience” on 9/11, he said. The lines he read ended: “Just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by human beings.”
Yet his decision to speak at all on the stage where first responders read the 2,750 names of the dead infuriated critics.
Some turned their backs on him as he spoke. Others left the park to visit Ground Zero.
“I walked away,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches, who lost a son and heads a firefighter union drive against Giuliani.
But that New York acid take on Giuliani hasn’t spread to Iowa and New Hampshire so far, said political scientist Eric Davis of Middlebury College.
His 9/11 legacy will be tarnished only if another candidate attacks, and no GOP rival likely will, Davis said. Riches agreed. “I don’t think any of the candidates will touch Giuliani on 9/11 because they’re afraid it will blow up on them.”
Tom Brune reports for Newsday, a Tribune Co. newspaper.
'Hero' or 'Phony'?
Evaluating the Sept. 11 Legacy That's the Foundation of Giuliani's Presidential Campaign
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, EILEEN MURPHY and ROXANNA SHERWOOD Sept. 11, 2007 —
On Sept. 11, 2001, New York — and America — was irrevocably changed by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The images from that day are permanently burned into the memories of all who watched the two iconic buildings collapse. One such indelible image is that of a debris-covered, grim and determined Mayor Rudy Giuliani marching the streets near the site, lending a sense of leadership amid the chaos and tragedy.
That legacy has become the center of Giuliani's presidential campaign, suggesting that his expertise on terrorism adds to his qualifications in the race. But there are critics who disagree with Giuliani's supposed terrorism credentials. How much is true about the man behind the myth of Sept. 11?
Becoming 'America's Mayor' The former mayor attended a memorial for the victims of Sept. 11 today. Also in attendance was Jim Riches, a battalion chief on Sept. 11 and a 30-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department. Riches was at home that morning, six years ago, when his phone rang — his 29-year-old-son, also a firefighter, was working that day.
Responding immediately, Riches arrived right after the second tower collapsed. "The scene was chaotic. I mean, there were bodies all over the place," he said. "I saw a couple guys that I knew and they said they had seen my son go into the North Tower and I figured right away he was gone." It was months later, on March 25, 2002, that his son's body was found.
Dr. Michael Cohen, a psychologist, was also called to work on Sept. 11. He had been involved in crisis management in the wake of the 1993 attack on the same World Trade Center. The mayor — not known for taking advice easily — met with Cohen on the morning of Sept. 12. Impressed by Giuliani's leadership, Cohen said he felt he was "in the presence of a presence." His message to the mayor was to be authoritative, and truthful.
In a press conference held an hour after that meeting, Cohen said Giuliani "knew how important this was, what his role was in this. I never saw him underestimate or overestimate his role." It was that powerful presence that created the Giuliani legacy that remains today. Time magazine named him Man of the Year, and he was quickly dubbed "America's Mayor."
Terrorism Expert? Sept. 11 has been at the center of Giuliani's presidential campaign. As he criss-crosses the country he often talks of terrorism, and suggests that he is an expert on the issue.
"I believe the most important issue is being on the offense against Islamic terrorism," he said in August. "I think there's no candidate in the race who has as much experience as I do."
Joe Lhota, who was deputy mayor under Giuliani and is now an unpaid adviser and campaign surrogate for Giuliani, contends that Giuliani does indeed have terrorism expertise. "Terrorism is not something prior to 9/11 that you went around and talked about a lot," he said. "I think he's knowledgeable beyond the normal leader."
Jerry Hauer, who was appointed by then-Mayor Giuliani to create the city's first centralized Office of Emergency Management, disagrees. He stepped down from his post eight months before the planes hit the towers, and has since become a vocal critic of his former boss.
Hauer said when it comes to terrorism, he thinks Giuliani is a "phony." "I don't ever remember a conversation when Rudy was mayor when he and I ever really talked about Islamic militants, Islamic fundamentalism, Islam at all. Al Qaeda was never part of his vocabulary&and I was responsible for ensuring the city was ready for those kind of events."
FBI agent Jack Cloonan was the head of a special interagency task force based in New York City to eliminate Osama bin Laden. "I can tell you the entire time I was on the bin Laden case from 1996 until I retired in October 2002, during that entire timeframe when Mr. Giuliani was Mayor of New York, I never heard a question from the mayor or from the mayor's office to my office," Cloonan said.
'America's Night-Mayor'? Riches, along with a group of other firefighter families, have banded together to discredit Giuliani as he runs for president. According to Riches, among firefighters "he's not well liked at all. Every time you hear Rudy Giuliani's name you'll hear a four letter word to follow it," he said. "And it's not 'hero.'" He went on to say, "He's not America's mayor, he's America's night-mayor."
Riches said his anger isn't just the result of losing his son and nearly dying himself from lung disease, which he attributes to his work on the pile. He said the city's failure to coordinate emergency response efforts between the police and fire department on Sept. 11 was the mayor's fault, and that the Office of Emergency Management should have been in charge.
"It would have helped if we'd had a few drills and been more prepared that day, but we weren't that day and that falls back to the administration of Giuliani," he said.
The 9/11 Commission Report says that essentially the Office of Emergency Management wasn't a factor that day — they played virtually no role. In fact, the chairmen of the commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, admitted in their book "Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission" that they didn't vigorously question Giuliani about this and other alleged failures because, they say, of his hero status.
Hauer contends that lives could have been saved if the Giuliani administration had enforced a unified command structure. But even a unified command structure could not have made the fire departments faulty radios work — an issue that was apparent in the 1993 bombings as well.
Criticism Lingers Riches holds the Giuliani administration responsible for the firefighters' faulty radios. "They didn't work in '93. They didn't work in 2001. And we had 121 men die in the north tower that day. I'm not saying they all would have got out, maybe some of them were up too high, but some of them would have heard the call to get out and that's his failure to prepare us."
The 9/11 Commission also concluded that there were multiple problems with the fire department radios. Lhota said that "many of the radios worked on 9/11. Many of the radios did not work. If you have numerous radios and everyone is trying to talk at the same time nobody gets through."
The location of the city's emergency command post at the World Trade Center site, in building No. 7, has also drawn much criticism — located at an already identified terrorist target, the office was wiped out, leaving no readily available command center. In response, Lhota said, "Our Command Center had multiple functions. It wasn't just for terrorism related incidents. We opened up the command center whenever there were big snowstorms in New York, we opened up the command center for, if you recall, West Nile&having it in lower Manhattan made all the sense in the world."
Lhota said Giuliani shouldn't be blamed for what happened that day, and that he is a competent leader. "If anything, I believe they should give him credit for the number of lives that were saved. More lives were saved than perished on that day. And I think we're losing sight of how cataclysmic an event that was."
He went on to say, "What he showed on 9/11 was the competence that he showed from the day he became mayor, what it means to be in control, what it means to be compassionate, what it means to know what you need to know to get the city moving again. And I think America was able, through that lens, to see Rudy Giuliani. And that's what they saw."