UN Remembers 9/11 Attacks on Tenth Anniversary

Joseph Deiss, President of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

On September 9, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly convened for a special Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. This significant ceremony was held in the General Assembly Hall. The United Nations brought together member states to mark this solemn occasion, in hopes of moving forward for a better and more secure future for generations to come.

H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, opened the program by stating that September 11 is forever etched in our collective memory, and that the General  Assembly had gathered  together on this 10th Anniversary to express  compassion and solidarity for all the victims of terrorist acts throughout the world.  He called the acts an “intolerable violation” of the purposes and principles of the UN and its ideals of peace, security and friendship among peoples.  

Mr. Deiss  was followed by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. The Deputy Secretary-General  spoke of her personal experience and sorrow with the terrorist attack in Tanzania.  She also mentioned the recent assault on the UN Mission in Abuja, Nigeria. She called the attacks “an assault on humanity itself, and on the universal values of peace and dignity the United Nations was created to promote and defend”.  She added that “Terrorism has killed too many of our sons, daughters and mothers, our fathers, sisters and brothers. We cannot let it tear apart the human family.”

The final speaker was H.E. Dr. Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations She called upon the assembly to remember the victims and their families, innocent men and women callously killed. She recalled the great courage of the heroes of Flight 93. "The loved ones of 9/11 victims walk with wounds that will fade but never truly heal," she said. "Yet September 11 is also a day to affirm the basic tenet of our common decency and common humanity.  9/11 belongs to those who were slain and those who were left behind. To all who believe in human decency and human dignity, it is a day to bow our heads as one family united in loss and love."

In addition to the keynote speeches, there was a program of music and poetry. For this component, the UPF played a contributing role, enlisting the participation of The New York City Symphony and its Musical  Director, Mr. David Eaton.

The song “Still I Rise” was performed with deep emotion and resolve by soloist Mzuri Moyo,  accompanied by the New York City Symphony.

 With its message of rising above adversity despite all odds, never giving up and loving one another, the song was very appropriate for the occasion.

From left: Rabbi Richard Marker; Imam Khalid Latif; Reverend Robert J. Robbins; and Reverend Masamichi Kamiya.  UN Photo/Evan Schneider

David D’Or, world-renowned singer, songwriter and composer who received Israel’s highest recognition for excellence in the arts, sang “Amazing Grace”.  “The Names”, a poem written by Billy Collins, given to Congress on Sept. 9, 2002, was recited by Osotira Lenard of The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem.  It was written in tribute to the names of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.  

Interfaith leaders came forward to light one candle, fusing the light of each religious faith into one light, symbolizing oneness and solidarity.  Then all rose to observe a moment of silence.

The commemoration ended with a beautiful rendition of Gabriel Fauré's "Pavane" by the New York City Symphony, a perfect finale for the solemn occasion, in memory of 9/11.   

UPF was proud to have supported and contributed to this special commemoration at the United Nations.

A moment of silence is observed for the victims of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States, at a special ceremony of the General Assembly. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

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