Bermuda remembers the victims of 9/11
September 11 was a tragedy for the people of the world as well as for the US, US Consul Grace Shelton told a memorial service in the Anglican Cathedral this afternoon.
A congregation of about 60 people fanned themselves in silence, many wiping tears from their eyes, as tributes were paid to the nearly 3,000 lives lost ten years ago today, in the worst terrorist attacks of US history.
“Citizens of many nations, including Mr Boyd Gatton and Ms Rhondelle Tankard from Bermuda, paid with their lives,” Ms Shelton said.
“It is right that we convene here to remember them. May we never forget those who suffered and died in the tragedy, as well as their friends, family and colleagues.”
The 4pm service was presided over by Bishop of Bermuda Patrick White, who afterwards consoled a sobbing congregation member at the back of the Cathedral.
Mr White told those gathered that Bermuda and the US share much, including many family relationships.
Premier Paula Cox, seated with her husband in the front row between Ms Shelton and Deputy Governor David Arkley, told the service that bearing “loss, anger and sorrow is never easy”.
Before her reading from Ecclesiastes, Ms Cox recalled being in Cabinet when she first learned of the attacks in 2001.
Praising the “victory and resilience of the human spirit”, Ms Cox commended “the ability of a people to keep on keeping on, regardless, that is one of our most endearing characteristics — when we weather the storm, and still rise”.
Grieving members of the congregation embraced one another at the close of the service. Opposition MP John Barritt and MP Wayne Furbert were among those who then filed outside, as Ms Shelton, wiping away tears, descended the cathedral steps to her car.
Earlier this afternoon, Ms Shelton also placed a white wreath at the base of Bermuda's 9/11 Memorial.
Attended by a small group of consulate staff, Ms Shelton spoke of the “mothers and fathers, sons and daughter, brothers and sister, who were simply going about their daily lives on a beautiful Tuesday morning” when terrorists struck.
She then held a moment of silence at the memorial in the Botanical Gardens.
The two-towered monument there contains a fragment of steel from New York's World Trade Centre towers, destroyed that morning in 2001 by two hijacked aircraft.
The Twin Towers became emblematic of a day that also saw Washington DC's Pentagon building struck by a third plane, while a fourth aircraft plummeted to earth in Pennsylvania.
September 11 will also be remembered tomorrow morning, at a ceremony on the grounds of Saltus. The school will honours its two alumni, Mr Gatton and former student Robert Higley, who perished in the attacks.
A private ceremony will be held on Tuesday by US Consulate staff.
Staff members, many of whom attended today's memorial services, will plant a rose bush on the building's grounds.