Victims' families and other New Yorkers gathered on Monday at Ground Zero to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 2,700 people.
"Five years have come and gone, and today we stand together as one," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in brief opening remarks.
"We came back to this place to remember the heartbreaking memory of those who have died."
At 8:46 a.m. the mayor asked the participants to join him in observing the first moment of silence at the time when the first hijacked plane hit the North Tower. Then he asked the spouses, partners and significant others of the victims in about 100 pairs to read victims' names.
"My love for you is eternal," said an emotional Maria Acosta, who began the annual reading of the victims' names, including her lost boyfriend Paul John Gill. "And we all love you very much."
With quavering voices, some readers tried very hard to hold back their tears while choking with emotion in their reading. Each reader read approximately 14 names and many tried to add poignant personal messages when they reached the names of their loved ones.
Some readers embraced each other and dried tears after they finished reading.
Grace Alver nearly broke down while telling her lost husband, Cesar Alviar, about the two new grandchildren he would never see.
Juana Bacchus, wearing a T-shirt with her husband Eustace's photo on the front, barely choked out her message of remembrance.
Melancholy violin music played in the background as the families descended the long ramp into the site. Reflecting pools set up for the ceremony slowly filled up with flowers and other remembrance left by the families.
U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady were here to lay wreathes to honor the dead a day before.
The recitation paused for three other moments of silence, at the times hijacked airliners came out of the clear blue sky and slammed into each of the twin towers and the times they fell, toppling under hellish fires.
New York State Governor George Pataki and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giupliani also delivered brief remarks.
Two trumpeters from the city's police department and fire department performed taps at the intervals between recitation.
On Monday afternoon, the Port Authority will hold its own memorial service at St. Peter's church to honor the 84 employees killed in the attacks.
In the evening, the "Tribute in Light" will light up the spot in the night sky where the World Trade Center towers once stood, at the corner of West and Morris Streets in Lower Manhattan.