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5,000 Join Hands in Battery Park City for 9/11 Anniversary

By DNAinfo Staff on September 10, 2011 10:49pm

By Paul Lomax

Special to DNAinfo

BATTERY PARK CITY — On Saturday morning in Battery Park City, at precisely 8:46 a.m., a bell tolled.

It tolled at the exact time the first jetliner hit Tower One of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, beginning the most terrible terrorist attacks on American soil ever.

But on this quiet, sunny morning on Manhattan's West Side waterfront — 10 years after 9/11 — the sound of the bell signaled the moment when over 5,000 people joined hands to form a "Chain of Humanity," in remembrance to all the victims that perished in the terrorist attacks.

The "Hand in Hand" event, organized by Community Board 1 chair Julie Menin, stretched from Battery Park City along the Hudson River as far as North Cove.

"The outpouring of support we've had from New Yorkers has been overwhelming," she said. "Five thousands people turned up today, many of them strangers just like the strangers that emerged from the white, gray ash on 9/11 that held the hands of others to help them out of the debris.

Menin said that it was important to keep that spirit in mind as the years pass.

"What today tells me is that mankind need to get back in touch with our humanity as we remember the days and years after September 11th," she said.

The touching event was one of the first among the weekend's solemn moments of remembrance of the tragic events that took place in New York City, Washington, and Pennsylvania on September 11th, 2001.

"I came here today to pay my respects to all of the victims from 9/11. I've been going to Ground Zero every year since the attacks," said Bill Steyert, 68, a Vietnam veteran from Queens who served on the USS Hancock.

The "Chain of Humanity," drew people from all over the country, some of whom still traveled to New York despite the high state of alert put in place on Friday, Sept. 9, in response to the threat of a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11.

Jose Martinez, 49, and his pal Janice Torres, 44, flew from California to pay their respects and also to celebrate her 45th birthday which falls on September, 11th.

"My friend is very upset as 9/11 is her birthday," said Martinez. "After what happened here in New York City she finds it very difficult to celebrate since the attacks on America as it reminds her of the tragedy that happened."  

"Hand in Hand, Remembering 9/11," brought together first responders, friends and families and also perfect strangers who joined together to pay their respects to everyone who lost their lives on that fateful day.

Standing in solidarity against global terrorism and to reaffirm their hope for world unity, world peace and an end to tyranny, these ordinary people of all ages held hands to hope for a brighter future for everyone.

People formed the human chain at Castle Clinton shortly after 8:30 a.m. Saturday and afterwards joined others to post messages on a Wall of Remembrance at Battery Place and Greenwich Street, in lower Manhattan.