Remembrance And Renewal
Remembrance And Renewal
New Yorkers marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in a moving, solemn ceremony at the World Trade Center site, in which the names of all 2,801 people whose lives were taken there were read. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush came to lay a wreath at the site and offered their personal condolences to the survivors of those who perished. And heads of state from around the world gathered in Battery Park to light an eternal flame to honor the memory of the victims of September 11 and to reaffirm the universal spirit of liberty.
The anniversary observances were occasions for remembrance—for mourning all those so suddenly and violently taken from us, reliving the shock and outrage we experienced that terrible day, and recalling that on September 11, our city was the first battlefield in a war against our very way of life—a war that is still being fought around the world. It was also an occasion to recall the inspiring valor and professionalism of our firefighters, police officers and emergency services personnel, who carried out the most successful emergency evacuation in history, rescuing more than 25,000 people from the World Trade Center. We are forever grateful for the outpouring of assistance that flooded into New York from around the nation and the world, in the form of volunteers, supplies and expressions of emotional and moral support.
Last Friday, I conveyed the city’s thanks for that global support in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. I stressed that the citizens of more than 90 nations lost their lives on September 11, and that the attack on the World Trade Center was, in fact, an assault on freedom-loving people everywhere. We should remember that men and women who practice the religion of Islam were among those who lost their lives for freedom that day and that engaging in racial, ethnic or religious harassment and discrimination against Middle Eastern and South Asian New Yorkers would dishonor the memory of everyone taken in that terrible terrorist attack.
Going forward, we must rebuild our city, and as we do so, it’s up to all of us to carry ourselves in a manner worthy of those we lost on September 11. That means always standing up for the principles our nation is founded on, the right to worship as we see fit and the right to live our lives free from fear. Those freedoms are what the terrorists attacked—and those freedoms are what make our city great.
Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th mayor of New York City.