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Home > News & Commentary
City Mourns At Stadium Prayer Service

 

excerpted from Newsday
September 23, 2001
By Vera Haller

A prayer service filled with tears and patriotism was held today at Yankee Stadium for the families of the more than 6,000 people missing and killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Waving American flags and holding up photographs of their loved ones, participants in the "Prayer for America" service cried freely as the victims of the horrific act of terrorism were remembered and honored.

… More tears flowed when world-famous tenor, Placido Domingo, sang a heart-felt "Ave Maria."

The audience cheered wildly for Domingo, but saved its biggest applause for Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom [Oprah] Winfrey introduced as the "man of the hour" and "America's mayor."

Giuliani honored those lost in the attack, saying, "All of the victims of this tragedy were innocent, all of them were heroes."

But his message also was one of hope and optimism for the future.

…The service was interfaith and included remarks by leaders of many faiths, including the Muslim faith.

Following recitations from the Koran, the sacred text of Islam, Iman Izak-El M. Pasha, a police chaplain and spiritual leader of Harlem's Masjid Malcolm Shabazz mosque, delivered a statement of solidarity with the rest of the nation.

"We Muslim-Americans stand today with a heavy weight on our shoulders that those who would dare do such dastardly acts would claim our faith," he said to cheers from the crowd. "They are no believers in God. ...We condemn them and their cowardly acts as we stand with our country."

…Another emotional moment came when the Boys' and Girls' Choir of Harlem sang "We Shall Over." During the hymn, Giuliani reached out for the hands of Gov. George Pataki and Winfrey, who were standing next to him. The crowd cheered as a soloist sang, "We are not afraid."

Pataki, in his remarks, praised New Yorkers for their brave response to the attack.

"We are powerless to bring our loved ones back ... the highest honor we can pay them is to rise above the evil that claimed their lives," the governor said….

Date: 9/23/2001

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