Quiet sobbing could be heard inside Ground Zero yesterday as a large crowd of relatives of the victims of the attacks of September 11 2001 gathered to stand in silence four times to mark the moments five years ago when the two aircraft slammed into the Twin Towers and the moments they fell down.
Filing down a long ramp to the bottom of the pit in Lower Manhattan, the relatives waited patiently to drop flowers into two small pools placed precisely where each of the towers once stood. Many clutched photographs of their lost loved ones - fathers, wives, husband, fiancés, sons and daughters - or wore small pins bearing their images.
"I think it's important that people remember as years go on," said Diana Kellie from Montana, whose niece and niece's fiancé were among the passengers who perished on the two planes. "The dead are really not dead until they're forgotten."
As touching as the minutes of silence themselves, were the words of the scores of partners and spouses of victims who, after reading some of the names from the long list of the 2,749 people who died at Ground Zero, paused to send messages to their own lost loved ones.
The ceremony was also attended by Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City, and his predecessor who was in the front line handling the attacks when they happened, Rudolph Giuliani.