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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 02:06 GMT 03:06 UK
New York honours the dead
Oprah Winfrey and religious leaders
Oprah Winfrey (right) led the multi-faith ceremony
Tens of thousands gathered at the New York Yankees baseball stadium in the Bronx to pay tribute to the around 7,000 people who died in the attacks on the United States on 11 September.

The crowd at the multi-faith event, called "A Prayer For America", waved flags, cheered and cried as they heard prayers and inspirational songs.


Our lives have been shaken but we Americans refuse to be shattered.

Oprah Winfrey
"Our skyline will rise again," New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told the crowd, which included families of workers and rescuers killed when hijacked planes destroyed the World Trade Center.

The official number of those missing, presumed dead, in the rubble of the twin towers has risen to 6,453.

Actor James Earl Jones addressed the crowd, saying: "Today we offer a prayer for America.

Mariela Perez (right) and her mother Carmen
Mariela Perez (right) still waits for news of her brother, Angel
"Twelve days ago New York City suffered the most devastating attack of terrorism in human history.

"In response our nation is united as never before. We are united not only in our grief but in our resolve to build a better world."

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who is led the ceremony, said: "We each come here as one but we stand here as thousands.

"Our lives have been shaken but we Americans refuse to be shattered.

"Hope lives, prayer lives, love lives."

Darkest day, finest hour

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani described the events of 11 September as "our darkest day".

But he added: "It is up to us to make it our finest hour."

Sikh mourners
People of many different religions attended
He praised the actions of New York emergency workers, to rapturous applause from the crowd.

At the stadium, countless friends and relatives of those missing held photographs of their loved ones.

Among the mourners was Judith Cruz, a friend of Isaiah Rivera, a CBS News technician who was on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center.

She said: "The reason we're here today is that we just want to be with everyone in the family and share with them, you know, the pain."

Change of venue

Originally planned for Central Park, the venue was changed amid concerns police would not have been able to cope with the numbers of people who would want to attend.

Mr Giuliani said a mass memorial service would be planned for a later date, when police were less overstretched.

Bette Midler sings at the memorial service
An inspirational song by Bette Midler brought an emotional response
Bagpipers from the New York Police Department's Emerald Society band opened the ceremony.

Opera superstar Placido Domingo later sang "Ave Maria. "

When Hollywood diva Bette Midler performed her inspirational anthem, "Wind Beneath My Wings" and the line "Did you ever know that you're my hero?" many in the crowd began sobbing.

The prayer service was led by Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop of New York, and religious leaders from many faiths, including Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh offered prayers.

People rose to their feet when Imam Izak-El Pasha pleaded for tolerance.

"We Muslims, Americans, stand today with a heavy weight on our shoulders that those who would dare do such dastardly acts claim our faith," he said.

"They are no believers in God at all."

The memorial service was broadcast live to minor league baseball parks in Coney Island, Staten Island and Newark in New Jersey.

A ban on flights within three miles of major sporting events was extended by the Federal Aviation Authority, to cover the event.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Elaine Parke
"Tens of thousands came together to grieve and gather strength from each other"
The BBC's Jane Hughes
"A very important day for New York"

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23 Sep 01 | Americas
20 Sep 01 | Americas
16 Sep 01 | Americas
13 Sep 01 | UK Education
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