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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bells Toll Around the World for the Lost

APPeople gathering at Ground Zero in New York on Wednesday to mark the anniversary.
NEW YORK -- America paused Wednesday to remember the unforgettable -- with the tolling of bells, with recitations of the names of the dead, and above all, with silence. "Today, we remember each life," said President George W. Bush.

In New York and in Washington, at a field in southwestern Pennsylvania -- and in myriad places around the world -- the end of a convulsive year that began on Sept. 11, 2001, was marked with solemnity.

The stillness started in New York, with a moment of silence at Ground Zero, the massive hole where the World Trade Center once stood until terrorist-guided jetliners cut through a crystal blue sky a year ago and obliterated its towers.

The 2,801 names on the city's list of the dead were read, one by one. On a gusty day, their loved ones cried and dropped roses in a "circle of honor."

"They were our neighbors, our husbands, our children, our sisters, our brothers and our wives. They were our countrymen and our friends. They were us," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The city's church bells tolled to mark the moment when the second tower fell. The reading of the names ended at 11:20 a.m.; a bugler played taps.

The chain of remembrance extended from New York to Washington, where a moment of silence marked the time when American Airlines Flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon, killing 184.

There, Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld unfurled a massive flag.

"One year ago, men and women and children were killed here because they were Americans and because this place is a symbol to the world of our country's might and resolve," Bush said. "Today, we remember each life."

The somber president said, "We renew our commitment to win the war" that began that day. "The murder of innocents cannot be explained, only endured," he said as he stood outside a rebuilt Pentagon.

The remembrance extended to southwestern Pennsylvania, where thousands gathered in a field to remember the 40 passengers and crew who perished in the crash of United Flight 93 -- heroes, authorities believe, who fought their attackers.

A cascade of memorial events marked a moment whose echoes still resound from New York to Afghanistan, and everywhere in between -- a moment that even a year later left many transfixed by the horror, burdened by sadness, plagued by fears. It was a day of jitters and heightened security. Officials issued a code orange -- the second-highest level of alert -- and warned that terrorists might strike again.

The moment of the first attack was commemorated around the globe, starting in New Zealand, with the first line of the "Requiem" that Mozart wrote in his dying days. "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis," sang the Orlando Singers Chamber Choir at St. Luke's Presbyterian Church in Rumuera: "Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them."

Choirs in 20 time zones around the world were to sing those words, each of them beginning at 8:46 a.m., local time.

In Australia, 3,000 people in red-white-and-blue clothes assembled on a beach to make a human flag. In Paris, two powerful beams of light were projected into the sky.

A special Mass for firefighters was held at a Rome basilica, and Pope John Paul II dedicated his weekly audience to the attacks. "No situation of hurt, no philosophy or religion can ever justify such a grave offense on human life and dignity," he said.

While the focus was on the places that suffered the most, ceremonies marking Sept. 11 -- prayer, the tolling of bells, candlelight vigils, releases of doves and balloons, riderless horses, flags at half-staff, moments of silence and others of music -- were everywhere.

At Boston's Logan International Airport, where the two planes that struck the trade center took off, all ground operations stopped at 8:46 a.m.

At the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada, dealers held their cards, security guards stood silent, their hands folded. Cocktail servers paused, drinks on their trays.

In Phoenix, 100 people joined hands before sunrise and stood near a downtown intersection, facing east. They listened on a cellphone to New Yorkers singing "God Bless America."

In Montgomery, Alabama, at E.D. Nixon Elementary School, sixth-graders and their teachers baked cookies to bring to their local firefighters.

Fifteen percent of U.S. businesses planned to give their employees red-white-and-blue ribbons or pins for the day, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management; about a third said they would observe a moment of silence Wednesday. Just 4 percent said they would give their workers the day off with pay.

The stock exchanges delayed their openings. Telemarketers hung up their phones. Said Perry Young, head of a calling center in Omaha: "If I received a call at home on that day from somebody trying to sell me something, I would be personally offended." As they did a year ago, television networks struck everything else from their schedules.

Some airlines -- still struggling to regain passenger traffic they lost a year ago -- scaled back their schedules, as travelers avoided the skies on this day.

An American Airlines jet bound for Dallas returned to Houston Intercontinental Airport shortly after takeoff Wednesday because of what an airlines spokesman called "a security incident" on board, Reuters reported.

An FBI spokesman told a Houston television station there may have been an attempted hijacking on board.

"It appears to be an attempted hijacking, but I do not have that confirmed," FBI agent Robert Doguim said.

News reports said passengers reported seeing two men in the cabin with what appeared to be a weapon, possibly a folding knife. The reports said the men were taken into custody.

American spokesman Gus Whitcomb said that two U.S. air marshals were on the flight, as were four crew members and 50 passengers.