Police, firemen pay respects to families

Firefighters from across the nation came to ground zero to pay their respects to their fallen comrades.

Firefighters from across the nation came to ground zero to pay their respects to their fallen comrades.

Tears, memories and frustrations plagued inhabitants of Ground Zero on the third anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Families and loved ones gathered in a concealed location on the south side of the site. Throughout the ceremony, families walked down a ramp onto the middle of the memorial where they left roses, tears and prayers. Parents and grandparents of the victims read the list of casualties along with poems and prayers for loved ones.

During the minutes of the attacks were moments of silence. The first took place at 8:46 a.m., the exact time American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the north tower.

A second moment of silence took place at 9:03 a.m., followed later by silence at 9:59 and 10:29 a.m., the minutes the towers collapsed.

Outside the gates, streams of people came to pay tribute to those 2,749 who perished in the attacks. Many were friends of the victims.

“I worked for a company in the north tower,” said Howie Corrign, 25, New York City. “I can still see the faces of operators. I can still see my friends.”

Corrign was a volunteer firefighter working at 45th and 5th in Manhattan. He tried to get to the site when he heard the first plane hit.

“They weren’t letting anyone else through,” he said. “I wanted to help.”

Corrign was one of many outside the gates three years later, shedding tears for the friends he lost.

Daniel Jorge, 43, New York City, also had friends inside the towers.

Jorge was listed in the Air Force reserves and was working nights before the planes hit.

He said he had a friend who had taken a job in the north tower just two weeks before the attacks.

“He was excited to get the job.” Jorge said. “If only we knew what was going to happen.”

Firefighters from all over the United States and as far off as Milan, Brussels and Japan were seen at the memorial Sept.11.

Numerous police officers were also on hand.

“We come for all the officers who went down in the line of duty,” said Officer Joe Tuohy, of the Monmouth County (N.J.) Sheriff’s Office. “Those of us in law enforcement never forget each other. We come every year, and we’re going to come every year.”

Tuohy said he feels the impact of the attacks has faded, but he will always remember.

“I had a friend who was a Port Authority cop who never made it out of the building,” he said.

Jim Grell, from Allentown, Penn., said he and his friends “absolutely” had to be at the memorial.

“We’re all cops and came to show our respects today,” Grell said. “Our biggest thing was just to come down here and show our respects for the families.”

Police officers from London and Oxford were also seen paying their respects.

New York Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were on hand with the families of the victims. No speeches were given, only readings. Pataki quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani read a letter from President Abraham Lincoln to a woman who lost five sons in the Civil War.