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Birmingham, Alabama Holds a Candlelight Vigil for WTC Victims

Aired September 14, 2001 - 18:56   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We also want to give our viewers a notion about what is happening right now in New York City. In fact, this is New York Harbor, and you see the red crosses painted on that ship -- that is the USNS Comfort. This is a ship brought to support the many, many rescuers involved in the efforts at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

Of course, you understand that many of those people have come from other places, both in the city, outside the city, in the region, as well to support the situation there, but they are exhausted. They need assistance, they need a place to rest, and so they have brought the USNS Comfort into New York Harbor so that those people would be able to have a little time to rest, a little place to get a little rest and a little quiet in the midst of all the hard work they are doing.

Also, at this hour, in fact, at 7:00 Eastern, we are anticipating in many places in the country a candlelight vigil. And at this hour, that has already begun in Birmingham, Alabama. You see there a ceremony under way, a very solemn evening, even for Birmingham, so far away from the images of New York, of the World Trade Center towers, so far away from the Pentagon. Even in Birmingham, Alabama, there is this commemoration this evening.

And as you see candles being readied for the many people who are being involved, I know that there are being e-mails passed around all over the country today. In fact, I have received some myself from people suggesting that tonight is the night, that 7:00 this evening is a time for the entire nation to stand unified, to light these candle of remembrance, of hope, and honor for those who have been lost -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Elsewhere around the United States, we're now looking at a picture from Somerset -- not yet, but we'll certainly be looking at a picture from Somerset, Pennsylvania -- here it is right now -- Somerset, Pennsylvania of course not far from the crash of that other airliner that went down in Pennsylvania, the plane that was supposedly turning around, heading back toward Washington. But after reports of a struggle on board, the plane crashing near Somerset, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles or so outside of Pittsburgh.

This candlelight ceremony in Somerset about to begin, as are candlelight ceremonies all over the United States. An outpouring of sympathy and support. Here's one -- another candlelight ceremony in nearby Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., where I am -- Arlington, Virginia right across from the Potomac River, not far of course from the Pentagon, where that American Airlines jetliner smashed into the Pentagon early Tuesday morning. Arlington, Virginia, home of so many government employees and officials who work, in fact, at the Pentagon, outpouring of support around the United States.

These candlelight ceremonies, by the way, were well coordinated around the country, through the Internet. Let's listen to this ceremony that's now going on in Birmingham.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): ... way out on the farm, our hearts still bleed red, white, and blue. I'm proud to be an American, I'm proud to take a stand. I'm proud to tell the whole wide world that I'm American.

Oh beautiful, oh spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesties upon the fruited plain, America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

You may not be real happy about the shape our country is in, but it's still the land of all the lands where dreams could still come true. Only in America could a person make a choice. It's still the land of all the land where dreams can still come true.

I'm proud to be an American, I'm proud to take a stand. I'm proud to tell the whole wide world that I'm American!

O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties upon the fruited plain. America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Joe!

(APPLAUSE)

CHEN: A nation united in its grief. You see their Birmingham, Alabama, commemorating the loss at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and western Pennsylvania on Tuesday. This is one of the many, many ceremonies of remembrance all across the nation under way this evening. As well, we understand some in Canada, where people have joined in something of an e-mail campaign, joining in and saying at 7 o'clock this evening, most places local time, people will come forward with their candles and remember and honor those whose lives have been lost.

Also the grief shared by the world, many places in the world in fact. We told you yesterday about the queen's -- the queen's guard, the changing of the guard marking the tragic loss in the United States with the singing of "The Stars and the Stripes" -- or the playing of "The Stars and the Stripes."

Earlier today in Germany, the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of freedom, a symbol of so much division during the Cold War. At the Brandenburg Gate marking this day as well with a note of "Amazing Grace."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHOIR (singing): Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

(APPLAUSE)

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