Families remember Sept. 11 attacks at memorial
Sisters, brothers read loved ones’ names at World Trade Center site


Family members place flowers in a pool of water in the footprint of the north tower of the former World Trade Center during ceremonies marking the fourth anniversary Sept. 11 attacks.

Updated: 11:05 a.m. ET Sept. 11, 2005

America grieved the victims of Sept. 11 on Sunday as the brothers and sisters of the dead gathered at ground zero and recited the names of those killed in the fiery, catastrophic attack.

The roll of the lost began with Gordon M. Aamoth Jr., an investment bank employee. Then, one after another, the names echoed across the site where the World Trade Center towers collapsed four years ago in a nightmarish cloud of dust and debris.

Three hundred twenty pairs of siblings were reading the names of the dead as hundreds of relatives, friends and colleagues watched in pained silence, some holding aloft portraits of their loved ones.

Relatives bowed their heads and wiped away tears as speakers uttered brief, personal messages of remembrance to the brothers and sisters they lost.

“You’re still our hero, please keep watching over us,” Elizabeth Ahearn said to her brother, fire lieutenant Brian Ahearn.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the ceremony with words of condolence for the families devastated by the London subway attacks, and the thousands uprooted and grieving in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“Today, as we recite the names of those we lost, our hearts turn as well toward London, our sister city, remembering those she has just lost as well,” Bloomberg said. “And to Americans suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our deepest sympathies go out to you this day.”

The trade center site fell silent at 8:46 a.m., the time at which a hijacked jetliner crashed into the north tower and at 9:03 a.m., the moment a second plane struck the south tower. Moments of silence also were planned for 9:59 a.m. and 10:29 a.m., the precise times when each tower collapsed.

Among those reciting the names of the dead were Cynthia, John, Jane and Neil Olson — who lost their 31-year-old firefighter brother in the attack, Jeffrey James Olson.

“We feel that our family died that day,” said their mother, Carol Olson. “He’s always missing — on every birthday and every holiday.”

Gov. George E. Pataki, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were to offer commemorative readings at the ceremony.

Other memorials planned on Sunday included a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey service for the 84 employees it lost on Sept. 11. Firefighters planned to roll out their trucks and other equipment in front of their firehouses to observe the moment of silence. The Fire Department lost 343 firefighters in the attack. In Washington, President Bush marked the anniversary with his wife on the South Lawn.

As in past years, some victims’ relatives will be allowed to lay flowers at the towers’ footprints. At night, two blue light beams inspired by the twin towers will be projected upward. The “Tribute in Light” will fade away at dawn on Monday.

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