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9/11 attacks remembered in worldwide ceremonies

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Posted: Saturday, September 10, 2011 11:39 pm | Updated: 1:26 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

• Editor's Note: For our complete coverage of the Sept. 11 events, visit newsminer.com/sept11

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Ten years on from the day the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed so much for so many people, the world’s leaders and millions of citizens are pausing to reflect.

From Sydney to Atlanta, formal ceremonies are planned or already under way to remember the nearly 3,000 who perished from more than 90 countries. And, in a reminder that threats remain, authorities in Washington and New York are beefing up security in response to intelligence about possible plans for a car bomb attack.

For some, the pain never stops. In Malaysia, Pathmawathy Navaratnam woke up in her suburban Kuala Lumpur home and did what she’s done every day for the past decade: wish her son good morning. But Vijayashanker Paramsothy, a 23-year-old financial analyst, was killed in the attacks on New York.

“He is my sunshine. He has lived life to the fullest, but I can’t accept that he is not here anymore,” said Navaratnam. “I am still living, but I am dead inside.”

In Manila, dozens of former shanty dwellers offered roses, balloons and prayers for another 9/11 victim, American citizen Marie Rose Abad. The neighborhood used to be a shantytown that reeked of garbage. But in 2004, Abad’s Filipino-American husband built 50 brightly colored homes, fulfilling his late wife’s wish to help impoverished Filipinos. The village has since been named after her.

“It’s like a new life sprang from the death of Marie Rose and so many others,” said villager Nancy Waminal.

In New Zealand, players from the American Eagles rugby team were among the first to mark the anniversary at a memorial service in the town of New Plymouth. The players, who are participating in the Rugby World Cup tournament, listened to a speech by U.S. ambassador David Huebner, whose brother Rick survived the attacks on the World Trade Center.

“We watched live on television the brutal murder of 3,000 individuals,” Huebner said. “We reacted with near unanimous horror and sadness. As we mark the 10th anniversary of that day, we commemorate the triumph of human kindness, and the humanity and self-abrogation which sets us apart from every other species on this planet Earth.”

In Australia, Sydney resident Rae Tompsett said she’s 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 Center’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.”

The retired school teacher and her husband Jack, 92, were planning to attend Sunday morning mass as usual at their church before going to a service in the afternoon.

“It’s incredible that it is 10 years — it feels a bit like yesterday,” Tompsett said.

In Japan, families gathered in Tokyo to pay respects to the 23 Fuji Bank employees who never made it out of their World Trade Center 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.

Kunitake Nomura, 76, a former Fuji Bank employee who mourns losing his younger co-workers, attended a subsequent memorial service.

“We need to try to understand each other,” Nomura said. “We need to overcome differences in race and religion and learn to live in peace. We are all brothers after all. We must remind ourselves of this today.”

South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, conveying his “deepest condolences” to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, their bereaved families and the American public. Lee, whose country is one of the strongest allies of the United States, called the attacks “unpardonable” and praised decade-long U.S. efforts to fight terrorism.

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 U.S. in honoring the memory of those killed 10 years ago.

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

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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