The world mourns
Millions bow heads and Chrétien says, 'We cannot stop the tears of grief'; chilling details emerge about terror operation; Pakistan faces an awful choice
By JOHN IBBITSON, The Globe and Mail
With reports from Globe and Mail reporters in Canada and abroad,; and Associated Press
Saturday, September 15, 2001
WASHINGTON -- The world bowed its head yesterday -- in mourning, in remembrance, but not in forgiveness.
Across the globe, in thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, before embassies and parliaments, in Icelandic dockyards and the presidential palace of Bogota, grieving populations paid tribute to the honoured dead who perished at the hands of terrorists in Tuesday's airplane assaults against New York and Washington.
Bands accustomed to playing O Canada, God Save the Queen, La Marseillaise and countless other anthems offered The Star-Spangled Banner in tribute. Presidents and prime ministers read out carefully prepared elegies that seemed to transcend their manufactured eloquence by the universal conviction that this time, the grief was real.
In London, thousands filled St. Paul's Cathedral and spilled into the plaza outside, as George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, proclaimed that although the World Trade Center is gone, "another, older, American icon was not submerged. The September morning sun continued to shine on the Statue of Liberty, her torch raised like a beacon . . . a symbol of all that is best in America."
Not far away, at the statue of Franklin Roosevelt, someone attached to a teddy bear a message: "To that little girl whose doll was found amongst the debris. Wherever you are, God bless you."
U.S. President George W. Bush asked that yesterday be a day of mourning. In his televised address at Washington's National Cathedral, however, he remained a warrior president.
"This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger," he told a congregation that included his father and three other former presidents: Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
"This conflict was begun in the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing."
In most services, however, people came to share their sorrow, not their rage.
On Parliament Hill, more than 100,000 commemorated the bonds between the world's two closest allies, led by Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
"We reel before the blunt and terrible reality of the evil we have just witnessed," the Prime Minister said. "We cannot stop the tears of grief."
But to Americans everywhere, from Canadians everywhere, he urged, "Do not despair. You are not alone. We are with you. The whole world is with you."
Across the country in Victoria, Lloyd Houston, a 53-year-old B.C. provincial employee, joined hundreds who lined up to sign a book of condolences.
"I see us as being all North Americans," he said. "The Americans are our neighbours, our brothers, our sisters. We share their triumphs and their griefs."
As part of the day of mourning, people everywhere observed minutes of silence. In Iran, 60,000 stood silently in Tehran Soccer Stadium, honouring a country their leaders have called The Great Satan. In Finland, drivers pulled over their cabs. Stock exchanges across Europe halted trading in memorium.
Icelandic fisherman in Reykjavik stood silently on the docks. More than 200,000 Berliners stood silently before the Brandenburg Gate.
In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac stood to attention in front of a military honour guard at the Élysée Palace, and the Republican Guard played The Star-Spangled Banner. Pope John Paul prayed. Queen Elizabeth cut short her stay in Balmoral to attend the service at St. Paul's.
In Poland, more than 2,000 people carrying candles marched in the rain to the U.S. embassy in Warsaw. Colombian President Andres Pastrana attended a mass at the presidential palace in Bogota.
In the heartland of grief, Americans filled their churches and public squares to remember the fallen and to vow revenge.
Mourners at St. Paul's Church in Concord, N.H., called out the names of loved ones missing or hurt in the destruction. Outside, a crowd softly sang Amazing Grace.
But although Christ called for forgiveness, for Al Thompson it was an eye for an eye.
"I'm supposed to be a Christian, but my prayers are for revenge," Mr. Thompson said outside a mass at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
"What's the saying? God may forgive them, but I never will."
But most would rather remember the pinned-up sympathy cards designed by students in a Halifax Grade 7 class that touched Americans waiting in airport lineups for flights to take them home.
Most shared the sentiment of Sayeed Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, who began his comments at a memorial service with "My fellow Americans."
Many shared the feelings of Brian Masters, a 35-year-old decorator from south London, who attended the service at St. Paul's. "I woke up this morning and felt I had to do something. Perhaps it's about sorting out what's important in life and what isn't."