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Ceremonies mark 3 months since September 11

President Bush:
President Bush: "In time this war will end, but our remembrance never will."  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Three months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, people around the world took part in ceremonies Tuesday morning to honor the victims.

At the White House, President Bush led a memorial that began at 8:46 a.m. EST, the moment the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center three months ago.

"Everyone of the innocents who died on September 11 was the most important person on Earth to somebody," Bush said. "Every death extinguished a world."

Bush said September 11 is a day that will be forever etched in people's minds.

"We'll remember where we were and how we felt," he said. "We'll remember the dead and what we owe them. We'll remember what we lost and what we found."

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At the World Trade Center disaster site, hundreds of New York police and firefighters joined Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Gov. George Pataki for a memorial service that included Broadway star William Michals singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

In a poignant remembrance at the Justice Department, U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson referred to "the sufferings we have all experienced." He made no direct reference to the death of his wife, Barbara Olson, who was a passenger aboard the American Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon.

"We will never forget our loved ones who died or who were wounded on September 11," Olson told a gathering in the Great Hall of the Main Justice Building.

"We will fight this evil as long and as patiently as it takes," Olson vowed.

With U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft attending the White House ceremony, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson introduced Olson and paid tribute to Barbara Olson's phone call to the Justice Department command center as hijackers controlled the plane.

"Ted's beloved Barbara helped to sound a clarion call that awakened our nation's leaders to the true nature of the events that were unfolding," he recalled.

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held a ceremony at the site where American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the building's outer ring, which housed U.S. Army military and civilian staff.

"Three months ago today, at this hour, in this place, some 184 people died," Rumsfeld said. "They died because they were Americans -- sons and daughters of the land of liberty.

"They died because they were here, in this place that symbolizes the power of freedom and the strength of American purpose and principles. ... We will remember their lives and the reasons for their deaths until freedom triumphs over oppression, over fear and long beyond," he said.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the people killed at the Pentagon "were among the first to give their lives in this war on terrorism -- but certainly not the last."

American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts on the international space station joined together and shared their thoughts about the attacks. The astronauts on the shuttle Endeavour carried more than 6,000 U.S. flags into space for the ceremony. The flags will be presented to victims' families when the shuttle returns to Earth.

Events were held in more than 110 countries.

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat offered his condolences during a speech on Palestinian television.

"In these tragic and sad moments, I would like to extend to the friendly American people and to the president, George Bush, my deepest condolences and solidarity," Arafat said. "That was a horrendous attack and a form of devastating terror."


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