Alongside the pain sit resilience and hope

Memorial service

NSW Firefighters pay their respects during the September 11 Interfaith memorial service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. Picture: Dan Himbrechts
Source: The Australian

TEN years on for the families of the 10 Australians who died in the US on September 11, 2001, the sadness remains, but alongside the pain sit resilience and hope.

Several hundred people attended an interfaith memorial at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral yesterday, including family members of the Australians who died during the attacks.

Some relatives of the victims sat at the front of the cathedral, wiping tears away, while others sat in silence reflecting on the tragic loss of life as the ceremony began with a haunting didgeridoo recital by Aboriginal man William Barton.

Niels Marquardt, the US consul-general, spoke about the hours and days that followed the event and said the US was greatly comforted by the support it received from countries such as Australia.

“We have not yet been given the time as human beings to make full sense of the horror — if we ever will,” he said.

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“Families still struggle to fill the chasm of loss in their life . . . but if this decade has taught us anything, it’s the resilience of the human spirit.”

The Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Father Paul Hilder, leading the service, described Australia as a “changed nation” after the attacks, and said the country lost its innocence that day after watching the horrific events on television.

“The events of 9/11 will be etched in the nation’s memory forever,” said Father Hilder. He remembered how “countries across the globe banded together to support each other”.

Ken Allen, who was Australia’s consul-general to the US at the time of the attacks and was in New York when the planes crashed into the twin towers, read out the names of the Australians who died and a candle was lit honouring each of those lives lost.

Representatives from several religious denominations who spoke at the ceremony all condemned the horrific acts of terror.

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.

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