Families gather at Ground Zero for subdued 9/11 memorial
The number of people at the National September 11th Memorial plaza may have been smaller Tuesday than in previous years, but for relatives of 9/11 victims, the turnout didn't diminish the spirit of the event.
"I think people are mostly moving on with their lives, but they don't forget," said Eddie Bracken, 45 of Staten Island, whose sister, Lucy Fischman, died while working in the South Tower. Hundreds were at Ground Zero to hear the names read of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Last year's ceremony, meanwhile, which marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks and the opening of the September 11th Memorial, had an estimated 10,000 people in attendance.
About 200 family members read the names during the three and a half-hour ceremony Tuesday that included, as in every annual gathering there since 9/11, moments of silence in observance for the times the planes struck and when the towers collapsed.
Relatives and friends who weren't selected to read the names acknowledged lost loved ones by holding their photos in air.
Jane Pollicino, 58, of Plainview, said she has come every year to honor her husband Steve, who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald.
"He loved being on top of the world," she said.
For the first time, the memorial's organizers prohibited elected officials who came to the event, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, from reading names or giving speeches.
"It's a little scaled back, but that's appropriate. It's a very solemn ceremony," Giuliani told reporters afterward.
"I believe most Americans realize we can never forget, but we also can't forget that things are still going on, the struggle is still going on," he continued. "It's not like Pearl Harbor where the peace treaty has been signed and the war is over."
Attendees said they were glad that politics was kept to a minimum.'
"Coming here and saying nothing and hearing the names shows they really want to be here," Pollicino said.