September 11, 2007
by Michelle Franzen, NBC
New York -- Memorial services are planned around the country today to mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
The mood for nine eleven ceremonies today will be solemn, but for the first time in six years a new divide emerged a city that is trying to cut back on public ceremonies collided with victims families who are fighting to make sure their loved ones are remembered.
For the first time since 9/11 ceremonies began, a change in location for the reading of the 2,750 names of victims.
Zuccotti Park, adjacent to the world trade center site, is a much smaller venue. It reflects the attempt by New York city leaders to scale back this year's events, due to booming construction and signifying the time to move forward.
"I think people will when they see it say that it really is an appropriate venue. You look down onto the site," said new York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The move angered many victims' families. Relatives pushed and won limited access to the lowest level of ground zero, the final resting place for many loved ones, whose bodies were never recovered.
This morning's ceremony includes four moments of silence to mark the times when the planes crashed into the towers, and when the towers fell.
Among those reading the names, former New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani. The presidential hopeful has built his campaign on 9/11 and many victims' families say his presence will turn a tribute into a political stop.
Meanwhile, at the U.S. Capitol, a remembrance ceremony held on the eve of 9/11 honored all 2,974 victims who died in the attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and aboard flight 93 that crashed in Shankesville, Pennsylvania.
At 8:46 this morning, members of the White House staff, from Cabinet members to janitors, fell silent. They, along with the president, marked the moment a jetliner slammed into the World Trade Center six years ago.
Among those crowding onto the White House lawn was former chief of staff Andrew Card, the man who broke the news to Bush on the day of the attacks. The president didn't speak.
The Marine band, stationed behind him on the South Portico, played "God Bless America," then he and the first lady walked inside. The ceremony has been repeated every year since the attacks.
The president began the day at a prayer service at St. John's Episcopal Church. The Reverend Luis Leon said religious faiths have their differences, but they all strive for peace, love and justice.
The A.P. contributed to this report