Ceremony Starts with Honor March to Ground Zero Site

Courtesy of The New York Post

The one-year anniversary of Sept. 11 will be commemorated next week around the boroughs from the early-morning hours until nightfall - with bagpipes, roses and moments of silence honoring the fallen heroes.

For the first time since the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the victims' relatives will be able to walk on the scarred earth where the lives of more than 2,800 people were claimed.

Beginning at 1 a.m., bagpipe-and-drum units representing all five uniformed services that responded to the terror attacks will start marching from all five boroughs toward the site - walking two at a time for about a mile, then being relieved, until they reach Ground Zero.

There will be four moments of silence, each expected to last a full minute - marking the separate times when the two hijacked Boeing 767s slammed into the Twin Towers, and then the moments when the buildings collapsed.

The first will be at 8:46 a.m. President Bush, who will be at the White House at that time, is expected sometime in the next few days to call for a nationwide moment of silence.

At Ground Zero, Gov. Pataki will read from the Gettysburg Address. Then, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will lead dozens of victims' relatives in reading the names of everyone lost in the attack.

At 9:04 a.m., after the second moment of silence, victims' families - who will be lined along the West Street side of the site - will start descending the ramp into the site, moving in a continuous circle and leaving flowers or other mementos.

At 10:29 a.m., when the north tower fell, bells will toll citywide.

There will be no seating provided for attendees - and City Hall yesterday urged people to remember that the morning ceremonies are predominantly for the families, asking New Yorkers and others not to descend on the area.

At 7 p.m. that night, as candlelight-and-concert services begin in each of the five boroughs, Bloomberg will begin those commemorations by reading from Franklin D. Roosevelt's The Four Freedoms, and lighting an eternal flame surrounded by several heads of state near the "Sphere" memorial in Battery Park.

The brief ceremony, which will be broadcast live at each of the five borough locations, will end with the singing of "America the Beautiful."

Meanwhile, the White House said President Bush will lay a wreath at all three sites where terror struck - capping the day with a prime-time TV speech to the nation from New York.

Bush will remain in New York for the next two days and will speak to the U.N. General Assembly and meet with world leaders - with Iraq expected to be at the top of the agenda.

After the Ground Zero moment of silence, Bush will go to the Pentagon to lay a wreath, express condolences to the families of those killed there and speak. As he departs, his helicopter will fly low over the building so he can look at the rebuilding.

From there the Bushes fly to Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 slammed into the ground after doomed passengers rose up against the hijackers.

Then he'll fly to Ground Zero, where, under high security, he'll lay another wreath at 4:30 p.m. and console and thank police, firemen, rescue workers and families.

That night Bush's speech will offer a "respectful, solemn tribute to those who lost their lives in the attack on the country" with "words of thanks and love" for their families, said White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Bush will also speak about "the importance of liberty," the White House said.
PHOTO The New York Post