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World Trade Center Tribute Begins

May 30, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ With the peal of a Fire Department bell, the victims of the World Trade Center’s unspeakable horror were remembered Thursday in a ceremony without words.

The solemn service, marking the end of the 8 1/2-month cleanup after the Sept. 11 attack, began with a bell sounding out the 5-5-5-5 fire code _ four sets of five rings, in memory of 343 fallen firefighters lost at ground zero.

The first bell rang at precisely 10:29 a.m., the time that the second tower collapsed in a screech of twisting steel and falling concrete.

An empty stretcher symbolizing the missing was brought up a 500-foot ramp from the pit where workers labored around the clock. It was escorted by an honor guard representing various agencies and victims’ groups.

``This is the closest point I guess I can get to being with him again,″ said David Bauer III, whose father _ a Cantor Fitzgerald worker _ was one of the more than 1,700 victims for whom no remains have been identified.

Hundreds of people began gathering at the site more than an hour before the service.

``It was tough to come here every day and now it’s tough to leave,″ firefighter John Keating said.

Of the more than 2,800 people killed in the attack, remains of 1,102 have been identified. Nearly 20,000 body parts have been recovered.

City officials said the sifting for body parts in a landfill and the identification process will go on for months. Those human remains that cannot be identified will be retained, in case new technology someday makes it possible.

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