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Semblance of Daily Life Returns in NY

September 20, 2001

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A shaky semblance of day-to-day life is returning to the city, even as New Yorkers prepare to mourn their fallen rescuers in a weekend service at Yankee Stadium.

Students whose schools were destroyed during the attacks at the World Trade Center got ready to return to class _ but to different buildings, blocks away, where they’ll share space and teachers.

On Friday, the New York Mets come home to Shea Stadium and a pennant race. But fans will face heightened security, including a ban on standing near the field to watch batting practice.

``We’re going to get on with living and learning,″ said Roe Wrubel, who taught third grade at Public School 89, a few blocks from what used to be the World Trade Center.

The school remains closed, but she and her 21 students have been assigned to a Greenwich Village classroom. She wasn’t sure how many of her students would return Thursday.

On Sept. 11, they fled for their lives when two hijacked passenger jets slammed into the 110-story twin towers. Even then, Wrubel said, the children ``kept me grounded ... and I’m going to keep them grounded.″

The first major New York sports event since the attacks came Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils in an exhibition hockey game. The crowd was announced at 14,646, but about half that many people were in the stands.

Meanwhile, rescue workers, pushed beyond human limits and losing hope of finding survivors, kept working.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said they were still on a search-and-rescue mission, but no survivors have been found since the day after the attacks.

``We’re trying our best to keep morale up. We’re all a little frustrated that we haven’t been able to find anyone,″ said Officer Bob Schnelle of the New York Police Department’s K-9 unit. ``But we’re going to keep at it until they tell us to stop.″

The bodies of 233 people have been recovered from the ruins. Of those, 170 have been identified by the coroner, and their families notified. Another 5,422 were missing.

Funerals for six firefighters and two police officers were held Wednesday.

The mayor said Yankee Stadium, in the city borough of the Bronx, would be the site of a memorial service at 3 p.m. Sunday for fallen rescue workers. Admission will be by ticket only, and there should be room for about 60,000 mourners in a city of 8 million.

The tickets will be issued by organizations affiliated with police and fire departments. Details were still being ironed out.

Originally planned for Central Park, and an expected audience of 1 million, the service was relocated because of security concerns.

State officials said they were close to an agreement that would expedite issuing death certificates so families of the dead could more quickly obtain insurance and other benefits.

On Wednesday, Giuliani led French President Jacques Chirac on a tour of the command center set up after the attacks.

``When you see it from the air, there’s an anger and determination to do something about it that I can’t describe,″ Giuliani said.

Chirac praised firefighters, the mayor and residents for exhibiting calm and resolve. He also glimpsed his country’s 1886 gift to America, the Statue of Liberty. It is still visible, but through smoke drifting from the still-smoldering rubble.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair planned to visit the city Thursday. And on Friday, the city was to receive a gift from Japan: $10 million in relief aid, said City Council President Peter Vallone.

A new statue was on view in Manhattan _ a bronze work that depicts a praying firefighter, down on one knee. It originally was cast to honor fallen firefighters in Missouri, but its maker and the foundation that commissioned it decided to donate it to New York. Many stopped Wednesday to gaze at the statue, perched temporarily on a flatbed truck. Some lighted a candle or placed flowers around the base as others, visibly moved, bowed their heads.

``It touches you,″ said Hakeem Adesanya of Teaneck, N.J. ``It makes you reflect.″

Former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, visited the family center on the Hudson River where thousands have flocked in search of loved ones.

``One of the strongest messages we have received is we have to go on,″ the senator said.

Other New Yorkers settled into a somewhat nervous routine on the third day of the work week. Wall Street workers glanced over their shoulders at the gap in the downtown skyline.

``People are definitely on edge,″ said Jess Spota, who walks to work through lower Manhattan to Wall Street. ``I don’t have a chance to forget about it. I look out my window at where the towers are supposed to be.″

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On the Net:

City site: http://www.nyc.gov

Charity site: http://www.libertyunites.org

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