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World marks September 11 attacks

Commemorations marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks got under way in the Pacific as officials and families of the lost gathered in solidarity.

Players from the American Eagles rugby team joined hundreds of others at a memorial service in the town of New Plymouth, New Zealand. The team is in the country to play in the Rugby World Cup tournament. US ambassador David Huebner also attended the service at St Andrews church.

People across the world plan to commemorate the day, while world leaders are sending messages of mourning and hope.

In Australia, Sydney resident Rae Tompsett said she has never felt angry over the murder of her son Stephen Tompsett, 39, a computer engineer who was on the 106th floor of the World Trade Centre's north tower when it was hit by a hijacked plane. "No, not anger," she said. "Sorrow. Sorrow that the people who did this believed they were doing something good."

In the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III praised the heroism shown by many on 9/11. A statement said: "Most of all, this is a day for all nations and peoples to reaffirm their commitment to peace and stability built on mutual respect and dialogue between cultures and religions."

In Manila, dozens of former shanty dwellers offered roses, balloons and prayers for another 9/11 victim, American citizen Marie Rose Abad. The neighbourhood used to be a shantytown that reeked of rubbish. But in 2004, Ms Abad's Filipino-American husband built 50 brightly coloured homes, fulfilling his late wife's wish to help impoverished Filipinos.

Leaders in Pakistan, which has been a victim of al Qaida terrorism but is also accused of not doing enough to crack down on militants, said they joined the people of the US in honouring the memory of those killed 10 years ago.

"As a country that has been severely affected by terrorism, we reaffirm our national resolve to strengthening international cooperation for the elimination of terrorism," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

In Japan, families gathered in Tokyo to pay their respects to the 23 Fuji Bank employees who never made it out of their World Trade Centre office. A dozen of the workers were Japanese.

One by one, family members laid flowers in front of an enclosed glass case containing a small section of steel retrieved from Ground Zero. They clasped their hands and bowed their heads. Some took pictures. Others simply stood in solemn silence. There were no tears, just reflection.


From Belfast Telegraph