Hundreds of people have gathered at a memorial service to remember the nearly 3000 people killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks 10 years ago.
Families and friends of the 10 Australians killed on 9/11 were joined by politicians, NSW firefighters, and members of the public for the inter-faith memorial at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney’s CBD.
Archbishop of Sydney George Pell called for a commitment to peace.
“We all commit ourselves to peace and … doing what we can to ensure that the terrible evils of the 20th century, the most violent in history, are not repeated,” Cardinal Pell told the gathering.
Sheik Mohammed Anas, who spoke on behalf of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, expressed “deep anguish” over the attacks and called on people of all faiths to live in harmony.
“An attitude of `us’ and `them’ and an `eye for an eye’ will either leave us all blind or in a perpetual atmosphere of hate, anger and distrust,” he said.
Former Australian consul-general Ken Allen, who was in New York with his wife at the time of the attacks, described the horror of witnessing the second plane crash into the 110th floor of the World Trade Centre.
“At that time we knew we were part of a horrible tragedy,” Mr Allen told the gathering.
“As the pungent smell of devastation wafted through the air people emerged to help those fleeing from downtown New York. It was the spirit of New Yorkers that day that was my clearest memory.
“Today we … join together … we are strong together and we will not forget.”
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell also attended the memorial and said it was a time to reflect and remember.
“It’s also a time to rejoice in the resilience of a free society that has not allowed the evil intentions of those who organised these attacks to have an effect,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters outside the church.