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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Memorial Held Marking Impacts on World Trade Center

Aired March 11, 2002 - 08:41   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.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And we take you to Battery Park, where we are just moments away from a moment of silence being honored to mark the impact of the first plane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center. You're looking at "The Sphere," which actually was a -- once sat atop a granite fountain in the center of the five acre World Trade Center Plaza.

Let's listen to Mayor Bloomberg speak now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Peace through free trade was the inspiration for "The Sphere," which once stood at the World Trade Center. It survived the collapse of the twin towers, as did the idea that catalyzed its creation, a peaceful world based on trade and the free movement of people and ideas. "The Sphere" may be damaged, but our belief in the principles it represents have never been stronger. That is what we stand for as New Yorkers, as we always have in the past, and as we always will in the future.

In a couple of minutes, it will be the exact time, six months ago, that hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At that point in time, I will ask each of you to look into your hearts to remember those that are no longer with us, and also, to think about how we can, going forward, never forget those that we lost, but also to build the kind of future that they would want for all of us.

We have a couple of minutes before that exact instant. If you could just sit and think, what would those people have wanted us to do? I think they would have wanted us to make a better world. They would have wanted us to show the terrorists that they cannot defeat us. They would have wanted us to make sure that we build a life where people can go and practice their religion, where people can go and say what they want to say. Everything that America was built on, that's what's represented right here, and that is our responsibility to continue.

This is just a temporary memorial, as will be the one that we'll dedicate this evening. The real memorial will be in our hearts. We will construct, I think, the best memorial that we possibly can in another year or so, but in the end, we are human beings, and what we remember is the people that we lost and those they left behind, and their wish for a better America and a better world. If you could reflect for a moment before the official moment of silence.

We're coming up to the time when America was changed forever. We've lost, but we've also gained. We realized just how strong we really are, and what our potential is. We're here, where New York City was started. We're here where we're going to say New York is going on to be better, to be stronger, and that we will make a better life for everybody. Would you please now join me in a moment of silence. It was exactly six months ago that this tragedy started.

Thank you. Please remain standing.

One church was destroyed at the World Trade Center site six months ago, and I have asked Father John Romas of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that is no longer here, located only steps away from where the twin towers once stood, to come and be joined by his eminence, Archbishop Dimitrios to deliver an invocation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us pray. Almighty God, God of our salvation, who alone works wonders, look down upon us with mercy and compassion, and out of your enduring love hear us and have mercy on us. Oh Lord, we have gathered on this day in your presence to remember those who, six months ago, were taken from us, from this very place, in the most cruel and exceedingly painful way.

We ask you to give rest to the departed souls of the innocent victims, and of those who lost -- or, rather, offered their lives in the heroic attempts to save others on September 11th, may their memory be eternal. Further, we fervently pray for the families who have experienced such horrendous loss and deep sorrow. As our great physician, bring comfort and peace to them through your divine power and presence, and through our acts of ministerial service to them, and grant to all of us, God, the strength, the determination, and the wisdom to rebuild the places.

BLOOMBERG: Thank you.

Today, we are more committed than ever before to building the free and peaceful world envisioned by "The Sphere's" creator, sculptor Fritz Koenig. President Bush has asked me to read the following message.

"Laura and I join you in paying tribute to those who were lost in the terrible attacks of September 11th. You have come together to remember a tragic day, to honor loved ones whose lives were taken, and to support our nation's just and vital cause. In a ceremony on the White House Lawn at the White House, we will honor the victims of September 11th tragedies and thank our coalition partners for helping us to rid the world of terrorism.

"Six months separate us from that dark September day. For the families of the lost, each day brings new pain and each day requires new courage. The dignity, grace, and patience of these families have been an example for our nation and the world. America will not forget the lives that were taken, nor will it forget the justice we seek. Every civilized nation has a part in this struggle for justice and peace, because every civilized nation has a stake in its outcome. This war on terror will be judged by its finish, not by its start.

"More dangers and sacrifices lie ahead, yet America is determined and prepared. Our resolve has only grown because we remember the horror and heroism of that fateful morning, the death of children on a field trip, the resistance and sacrifice of passengers on a doomed airplane, the courage of rescuers who died with strangers they were trying to save, and we remember hearts broken at the tragic news of unimaginable loss.

"There can be no peace in a world where differences and grievances can become an excuse to target the innocent for murder. In fighting terror, we will fight for peace. We also fight to rid the world of unlawful violence for human choice against coercion and cruelty, and for the recognition of the dignity and goodness of every life. We will fight to bring justice to those responsible for the September 11th attacks and to end terrorism, may God bless you all, and may God continue to bless America."

President Bush has been steadfast in his support for the people of New York since September 11th, and so has our next speaker. His decisive direction of the state government helped New York City get back on its feet in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and whose continued leadership will be instrumental as we rebuild. Let me introduce to you, our great governor, George E. Pataki.

GEORGE PATAKI, GOVERNOR, NEW YORK STATE: Thank you, mayor.

September 11th, 8:46 a.m., a date and a time we will never forget. Because at that hour, we saw the worst of mankind. We saw the face of evil, an evil that claimed thousands of our friends and families, our loved ones and co-workers. And yet, September 11th will also stand for our response, which was to respond to evil with good. To respond to terror with love. Because on September 11th, we also saw the best of humanity, the best of New York, in our response.

And to the thousands of family members who lost their loved ones, think back on their courage and heroism, because they, along with our brave police officers and firefighters, and emergency service workers who responded with such courage, saved tens of thousands of people on September 11th and united us in an awareness of how good could overcome evil, and united us in a way where we are committed to defend our freedom in a way I have never seen in my lifetime.

Behind us, you see, as we dedicate this morning, a temporary memorial for those heroes who died on September 11th, and "The Sphere," that rests behind me, in many ways, symbolizes New York. It's a sphere that for 30 years stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center as a symbol of global peace. On September 11th, it was damaged -- it was damaged, but not destroyed.

And New York, it has been unearthed, unearthed to serve a new purpose, to serve as a symbol of our never forgetting those heroes who died on September 11th and our never forgetting that good will overcome evil, courage will overcome terror, love will overcome hatred, tolerance will overcome bigotry, and we will be united and stronger because of their sacrifice. God bless them. God bless New York. God bless America.

BLOOMBERG: Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, and during the days that followed, the best human qualities: compassion, sense of purpose, courage, were demonstrated in the actions of thousands of New Yorkers, perhaps no one exemplified those characteristics better than our next speaker, my predecessor, the 107th mayor of the City of New York, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, archbishop, father, young men, Senator Schumer, Senator Clinton, Congressman Rangel, all of the distinguished dignitaries that are here, in particular, the family members of those who were lost at the World Trade Center and the members of our fire department, our police department, our emergency services, who were our first defense against this horrible attack, and to those in Washington and in Pennsylvania who we are joined with forever in this very special bond.

A few minutes from now, we will mark the time in which we knew that we had been attacked, and that we had been attacked in a way unlike any other way in which America had ever been attacked before. This was the worst violation of America in our history, and in the moments that it was taking place and thereafter for some time, I wondered, Could we endure it? Could we handle it? Could we get through it? And shortly after, during the first day, I realized that your loved ones gave us the example on which we would build.

I realized that we had won the war against terrorism on that first day. We're now winning the battles, but we won the war, because of their bravery, their strength, their unwillingness to retreat in the face of the worst attack that we, as Americans, had ever seen. The firefighters and the police officers stood there in the hallways, they stood there in the lobby, so did the rescue workers, and the emergency workers and many, many hidden heroes, citizens that -- civilians we might not know about who helped others.

So it's to them that we dedicate everything that we do in the future, and it's to them that we have to look for our inspiration and for our sense of purpose. They would want us to lift up our heads very, very high. They would want us to move forward as a people who live in freedom, with strength and determination that ultimately, ultimately, this country will prevail, as it always has. Thank you and God bless you.

BLOOMBERG: On September 11th, we lost many of our best and brightest. Standing next to the Hope Garden, "The Sphere" memorial will provide a peaceful setting to reflect on what our city has gone through, and to remember the friends, co-workers, and loved ones who were taken from us that day. One of these people was Peter Raimondi, and with us now to share their thoughts at this memorial service are his sons Peter, age 12, and Phillip (ph), age 16 -- Peter and Phillip.

PETER RAIMONDI, SON OF VICTIM: Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used, put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow, laugh as we always laughed at all the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word it always was. Let it be spoken without effect, without the ghost of a shadow on it.

PHILLIP RAIMONDI, SON OF VICTIM: Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolutely unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near. Just around the corner, all is well.

BLOOMBERG: At 9:03, two minutes from now, the second plane struck America. We cannot forget, the time between the first and the second plane is just a brief moment in our lives. We have to go on, and we will go on. We will make New York City a better city. We will make America a better country, and we will make the world a better place for everybody in the future.

We cannot, under any circumstances, be deterred by the terrorists from what America is all about, from our mission to leave to everybody for generations yet to come, a place where they can raise their families, practice their religion, say what they want to say. America was founded based on those principles, and we have to continue. We cannot let the terrorists ever think that they have beaten us. And we cannot let our guard down ever again. We must remember.

So please, we can't do enough. We can't say the right things, let us never forget those that we lost, but let us not lose sight of what we have to do again. Our world is exemplified by the children. They're what we are here for.

Please join me in a moment of silence. The second airplane has just struck the second tower.

God bless America.

Thank you. Never forget.

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