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Thread: Mayor Names Date of Symbolic End to WTC Recovery

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    Mayor Names Date of Symbolic End to WTC Recovery

    Mayor Names Date of Symbolic End to WTC Recovery
    By REUTERS

    Filed at 6:42 p.m. ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - With the removal of an empty flag-draped stretcher, recovery work at the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York will come to a symbolic close on May 30, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Thursday.

    The solemn ceremony at the site known as Ground Zero will begin at 10:29 a.m. (1429 GMT), the time the second of the twin towers collapsed after the attacks by two hijacked planes on Sept. 11, he said.

    But the mayor noted the recovery effort in fact will continue, as workers will not stop searching through pockets of debris, and other rubble will still undergo careful sifting at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

    Also, he said, the process of trying to identify body parts from the rubble would continue at the city Medical Examiner's office for the next year.

    ``The recovery effort will not finish on May 30,'' the mayor told a news conference at City Hall. ``There is no date when we will really be finished with either the recovery, the identification or the rebuilding. It is a process that goes on.''

    The ceremony, he said, ``is a symbolic end, however, of the process and a way to say thank you to those who have worked so hard and taken such risks in an effort to recover those that we lost.''

    SOLEMN REMOVAL

    The ceremony will include the removal of an empty, flag-draped stretcher to symbolize those victims whose bodies were never recovered, he said.

    It also will feature the ringing of bells in a traditional signal used by the Fire Department of New York to honor those fallen in the line of duty.

    Finally, he said, workers will remove the lone steel beam that still stands at Ground Zero like a totem pole, painted with the letters and numbers PAPD 37, NYPD 23, FDNY 343 -- an accounting of those lost by the Port Authority Police Department, New York Police Department and Fire Department.

    The attack killed 2,823 people in New York. Of those, 1,017 are confirmed dead.

    Picking a day to hold a ceremony at Ground Zero, Bloomberg said, was ``a compromise.''

    ``A slow transition has been taking place between recovery and renewal,'' he said. We will not stop ever if we find any debris that needs to be sifted through and we will not forget those that we lost.

    ``At the same time, we have an obligation to those left behind to continue the rebuilding that has already started, and we will fulfill both of those obligations,'' he said.

    He called the tireless recovery effort since Sept. 11 ``an amazing thing.''

    ``We've done it safely and we've done it efficiently and we've done it as respectfully as anybody could ever expect us to do,'' he said.

    Workers have removed 1.8 million tons of debris -- 100,000 truckloads -- from Ground Zero where the two 110-storey towers once stood, he said.

    The fate of the World Trade Center site has yet to be decided. City officials plan to announce in July the process by which they will decide upon a memorial, Bloomberg said.

    The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation -- set up in the aftermath of Sept. 11 to help guide the rebuilding of the site -- and the Port Authority said on Thursday they will hold public hearings about the future of ground zero. The first hearing will take place on May 23.

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    SOLEMN LAST DAY AT GROUND ZERO

    SOLEMN LAST DAY AT GROUND ZERO


    May 17, 2002 --

    Here are the events that will take place May 30, when officials mark the end of recovery work at Ground Zero:

    * The ceremony will start at 10:29 a.m., the moment the second of the Twin Towers collapsed.

    * The FDNY's bell signal for firefighters lost in the line of duty, a sequence of five bells rung four times, will sound.

    * An honor guard will escort an empty, flag-draped stretcher up the steel ramp out of the site, representing those who weren't found.

    * A 30-foot-tall beam from the south tower that still stands will be cut down [on May 29] and carried up the ramp on a flatbed truck.

    * Pipe bands from uniformed-personnel groups will play "America the Beautiful" and "Taps."

    * An NYPD helicopter will fly over.



    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/42768.htm

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