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Five years after the terror attacks that changed the face of the city, New Yorkers marked the anniversary of 9/11 Monday with remembrances throughout the city to mourn the 2,749 people who died at the World Trade Center.
After visiting all three cities hit on 9/11, George W. Bush ended a day of tributes to the victims with an address to the nation in which he called the war on terror "the calling of our generation."
"Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone," the president said. "They will not leave us alone.
They will follow us."
Before his address, Bush visited New York, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon to place wreaths and console relatives of the victims.
In Lower Manhattan the day began with drums and bagpipes played by members of the FDNY's Emerald Society, accompanying a procession carrying the American flag to the 16-acre World Trade Center site for the remembrance ceremony.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg began the annual ceremony by marking a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first plane hit the North Tower.
As family members continued to gather at the site, a second moment of silence was held at 9:03 a.m., the time when the South Tower was struck.
Spouses, partners and significant others of those killed then began to read the names of those who perished, pausing for moments of silence at 9:59 and 10:29 a.m., the times when each tower fell.
While each name was unique, the messages of loved ones were nearly identical: we love you, we miss you, we'll never forget you.
"Our boys will know all about you and what a wonderful daddy they had for such a short time. There is no greater love than the love we shared and I will love you for the rest of my life," said one widow.
"My life is not the same. My heart is broken and there's no way to mend a broken heart," said another.
As the names were called out over a period of almost four hours, loved ones placed flowers and wrote remembrances at reflecting pools at the site, one where each tower stood.
Family members started arriving hours before the ceremony began. Each person was given a rose, some of which were left in the reflecting pools that symbolized the spots where the twin towers stood. Tears flowed as mourners found solace in one another, in their shared pain.
Family and friends were joined by numerous elected officials, including Governor George Pataki and Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton.
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at the ceremony, quoting a poem which asked the definition of a successful life.
"To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived, this is to have succeeded.
God bless all of those that we lost. God bless all of you who mourn for them, remember them and live on in their spirit," he said.
After the final moment of silence, jazz legend Wynton Marsalis serenaded the assembly with a solemn trumpet solo.
"Every year I come down here and it seems the five years — it's five years went by — but it seems like it was yesterday," said Esther Dinardo who lost her daughter on 9/11. "My daughter I feel that she's with me all the time. She's in my mind all the time and in my heart."
A choir sang after the reading of the names. Mayor Bloomberg closed out the ceremony, saying those who died would be remembered always.
For the families of those lost, the ceremony brought an opportunity for them to visit the footprints of the site.
"It's where we have to be because this is the last place where he and his girlfriend were. And it's sad, very sad," said Janice Fleming whose brother died on 9/11.
"It makes me more connected to him, and it's a way of not forgetting," said Sharon Reich who lost her brother on 9/11.
"I feel that people tend to forget, you know? And I come down here all the way from Pennsylvania, because I don't want them to forget about my son," said Barbara Tirado who lost her son. "I want them to know who David was, you know, an innocent little boy."
The Port Authority held its own memorial service at St. Peter's church Monday afternoon to honor the 84 employees killed in the attacks. Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine all spoke at the event.
Family members of the victims were also on hand, and many said the events of 9/11 are still fresh in their minds. Of the 84 who died from the Port Authority, 37 were from the Port Authority Police Department.
New York's court officers also took time to remember their fallen brethren Monday, gathering at the rotunda of the State Supreme Court Building to honor the memories of the three court officers who died on September 11th.
One commander said they are still dealing with their loss.
"I was in Vietnam, I was in the Marines,” said Major Reginald MeBane of the New York State Court Officers. “I had taken patrols out and I always brought everyone back in and this time I did not bring every one back home. And it took a while, it took a long while, but I'm trying to get over it."
"Their spirit of self sacrifice demonstrated in the most eloquent terms that whatever depth of darkness may lurk in the human soul, there is still a brighter light of humanity and compassion that can never be extinguished,” said Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman who spoke at the service.
All three men will be memorialized at the end of the month when three streets in Lower Manhattan will be renamed in their honor.
Elsewhere in Manhattan, the Bell of Hope tolled at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan as mourners gathered for an interfaith service. The bell was presented to New Yorkers by the mayor of London on the first anniversary of the attacks. The bell also rang after the March 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid and the July 2005 bombings in London.
The faithful flocked to places of worship after the attacks, and many turned to prayer again Monday. A civil service was held at St. Paul's Chapel across from the site. It was a place of refuge for those fleeing the attacks, and for recovery workers who later searched the debris. The church is still home to many photos of loved ones who never returned home.
Wall Street also observed the anniversary with a moment of silence on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange just before the opening bell. Afterwards, representatives of New York Downtown Hospital rang the bell in recognition of the hospital's response to the terror attacks.
St. Vincent’s Hospital hosted an interfaith prayer service, honoring the doctors and nurses who cared for the injured following the attacks. The staff was also recognized for providing grief counseling to victims’ family members and the many others affected by the tragedy.
Tributes were also held at the other two crash sites, and around the world. Bagpipes played at the Pentagon, where the vice president and defense secretary were among the thousands gathered for a morning service.
In a windy field in Shanksville Pennsylvania, bells also tolled for the 40 people aboard Flight 93 who helped bring that plane down. Funds are being raised for a permanent memorial at that crash site.
Overseas in London, a wreath was laid in a memorial garden near the U.S. Embassy honoring the 67 Britons who died on 9/11.
And around the world, members of the U.S. military stood silent to honor servicemen and women fighting the war on terror. One ceremony in Afghanistan was delayed because of rocket fire.
From 7:12 p.m. Monday to 6:33 a.m. Tuesday, the "Tribute in Light" will light up the spot in the night sky where the World Trade Center towers once stood, at the corner of West and Morris Streets in Lower Manhattan.