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America returns flag to UK

LONDON, England -- A torn and tattered Union Jack flag pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center was the focus of a remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in London on Wednesday.

The flag was presented by New York police lieutenant Frank Dwyer to UK Home Secretary David Blunkett during the ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square, central London.

Dwyer, who was on duty when the World Trade Center was destroyed, said: "This flag, torn and tattered, still may be flown and is a rich symbol.

"It is a symbol of endurance and the strength of the British people and the pain and agony they went through that day -- that consecrated day.

"This flag belongs back in this land."

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The U.S. Ambassador in London described Britain as "America's truest friend" for its support since the terror attacks.

William Farish said he would never forget the sympathy and empathy shown by Britons following America's "darkest hour."

"We gather here this morning to remember more than 3,000 people, citizens of more than 80 countries who were lost to us one year ago today.

"We pay tribute to their memories, and to the families and friends who keep those memories alive. We pray that they all may find peace.

"We gather here today in solidarity -- united in our determination to wipe terrorism from the face of the earth."

Blunkett vowed to continue the fight against terrorism.

He said: "We owe it to all those who died to make a better world as we have tried already to do in freeing Afghanistan.

"We owe it to ourselves to have the courage to face down those who would take away our safety and security and undermine our democracy.

"So I have no hesitation in saying this morning God Bless America."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said: "It was a very memorable ceremony and brings back the importance of fighting terrorism."

Marca Joelson, 39, from New York, who sobbed as she watched with her British husband Stephen, 46. said: "We lost a lot of friends at Cantor Fitzgerald.

"Today one of my friends is having 30 trees planted in his backyard to commemorate each of the friends that he lost.

"It is unbelievable and totally incomprehensible to try to understand what has happened and what we are still going through."

Farish added: "Britain lost so many lives on September 11 -- more than any other country aside from the United States.

"And yet you and so many others came forward, in the tens of thousands, to offer every possible kind of support -- from beds for American travellers stranded here to counselling for survivors over there, from fire companies and congregations that held fundraisers to a small schoolboy who offered me his pocket money right here in the square to `help children in America'."


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