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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thousands Pray in Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK -- Representatives of New York's broad spectrum of faiths took the field of Yankee Stadium on Sunday for a flag-draped gathering of prayer for the victims of terrorism.

"We need faith, wisdom and strength of soul," said New York's Roman Catholic archbishop.

The service -- billed as "A Prayer for America" -- mixed solemn words with patriotic and inspirational songs, culminating in Lee Greenwood's rendition of "God Bless the U.S.A." The crowd waved flags, sang along and shouted "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" at its close.

Still, said the Reverend David Benke, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's Atlantic District, it was a day when "the field of dreams turned into God's house of prayer."

One after another, members of the clergy -- Jews, Roman Catholics, Moslems, Hindus, Protestants, Sikhs, Greek Orthodox -- stepped up to offer prayers.

"Our skyline will rise again," pledged Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the hero of the moment who was cheered loudly when he was introduced by Oprah Winfrey, who moderated with actor James Earl Jones.

"On Sept. 11, New York City suffered the darkest day in our history. It's now up to us to make it its finest hour," the mayor said.

When Bette Midler sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" -- and the line, "Did you ever know that you're my hero?" -- many in a crowd that filled half the stadium wept openly, clutching American flags and sobbing into each others' arms.

Opera star Placido Domingo, accompanied by piano and harp, received a standing ovation for a stirring version of "Ave Maria."

The crowd also rose to its feet when Imam Izak-El Pasha pleaded, "Do not allow the ignorance of people to have you attack your good neighbors. We are Moslems, but we are Americans.

"We Moslems, Americans, stand today with a heavy weight on our shoulder that those who would dare do such dastardly acts claim our faith," he said. "They are no believers in God at all."

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, a fire chaplain, said, "When we were children, we all wanted to be a fireman or a policeman. Today, as adults we can again answer we want to be like them. We know who we are. They showed us who we can be."

Cardinal Edward Egan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, asked God to care for the World Trade Center dead and heal the injured.

Giuliani was careful to call it a prayer service rather than a memorial service, insisting that hope was not lost for some of the people missing in the wreckage of the trade center. Giuliani told reporters after the service that the number of missing has risen by more than 100 -- to 6,453 -- after more checking of lists of those unaccounted for. No survivors have been pulled from the ruins since the day after the Sept. 11 disaster.

Security was heavy at the ballpark in New York's Bronx borough. City officials had printed some 55,000 tickets, which were given out at limited locations. When it became apparent that many seats were unfilled, the general public was invited in an hour before the service.