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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Tearful messages for attack victims
Flowers AP
They were queuing as soon as the park opened
Hundreds of people visited the US embassy in London on Saturday to pay their respects to the victims of the hijack attacks in America.

Many people openly wept as they went into the Grosvenor Square Park in front of the embassy to lay flowers around the Roosevelt Memorial and sign the books of condolence.

We wanted to stand in comradeship with our colleagues who've lost their lives in New York

London fireman
Almost 40,000 have now paid their tribute to the dead of New York and Washington since Tuesday.

Some mourners attached notes to their flowers, while others left their messages of condolence on copies of magazines that featured pictures of the burning World Trade Center on their covers.

One message said: "This was senseless evil. From all Britons to all our American friends." Another read: "John, we hope and pray every second that you are still with us."

Among the flowers, some mourners had left NYPD baseball caps and New York Yankees caps. One person had simply left the ticket to the last Yankees game they had seen.

'A history lesson'

The police said there were queues to get into the park when it opened at 0700 BST, and had grown steadily throughout the day.

One of the most moving moments during the day occurred when a watch from the London Fire Brigade turned up to pay their respects to the firemen killed under the rubble of the WTC twin towers.

One of them, a Moslem, told the BBC: "We're shocked like most people and we want to show our sympathy and what we feel about the tragic events in the United States. And we wanted to stand in comradeship with our colleagues who've lost their lives in New York."

One American living in London, who brought his children to the park, said: "It's a history lesson for my children. They need to know that we have gone into battle before; we have succeeded before and we will succeed again."

A British Second World War veteran attended in uniform and wearing his medals.

"The Americans helped us out in our hour of need. Now we must stand by them in theirs," he said.

The BBC's Rachel Ellison
It's been an emotional day

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See also:

13 Sep 01 | UK
'We just want to go home'
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