Thursday, September 12, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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A world of emotions for a grieving U.S.

ATHENS, Greece — A bugler playing taps in Afghanistan. A twisted metal cross in Rome symbolizing the carnage of a year ago. An Arab man in Jordan hoping the United States receives another terrorist blow.

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, memorials from Asia to Latin America sought to express how the attacks touched citizens from 91 countries.

In London, the focus was on majestic St. Paul's Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Prime Minister Tony Blair attended a special service along with friends and families of the 67 Britons killed in the attacks. The London service emphasized the common bonds uniting Britain and the United States. New York City police Lt. Frank Dwyer presented church leaders with a tattered British flag rescued from the World Trade Center.

Emotions soared as more than 3,000 white rose petals — one for each victim — were released from the dome gallery hundreds of feet above the altar as a lone cellist played Bach.

In a display of solidarity, the London service was attended by religious leaders from Britain's Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist communities.

In many parts of the world, political leaders went out of their way to express support for the U.S. in its time of sorrow. Flowers were placed outside U.S. embassies in Denmark, the Philippines and other countries.

In France, President Jacques Chirac made a rare acknowledgement of America's pivotal role in liberating France from the Nazis during World War II during a solidarity visit to the residence of the U.S. ambassador.

"France knows what it owes America," Chirac said during a ceremony. The darkened sky over Paris was pierced Tuesday and last night with two powerful beams illuminated to honor the terror victims.

Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned President Bush with condolences. According to Russian news services, he told the U.S. president the Russian people would always remember those who died last Sept. 11.

"In Russia, they say that time cures, but we cannot forget," he said. "We must not forget."

Putin's phone call was a reminder of how the political map has changed since the attacks. The Russian president has been a strong supporter of the U.S.-led war on terror, and the former adversaries have grown much closer in the past year.

The terror victims were also honored with an unprecedented "rolling" Requiem — a concept that originated in Seattle — that began in New Zealand and Japan when choirs performed Mozart's masterwork. Their performance was matched by 180 choirs in 20 times zones throughout the day.

Scientists at the frigid U.S. research base at the South Pole also played the requiem to remember the fallen.

In Kenya, where 231 people were killed and more than 5,000 wounded in an al-Qaida attack on the U.S. Embassy in 1998, commemorations honored the victims of terror there and in the United States.

Canadians also showed support, gathering on Newfoundland to remember the friendship shown by Canadians to thousands of travelers who were stranded there when U.S. airspace was closed in the chaotic hours and days after the attacks.

In Norway, more than 3,000 torches burned outside Oslo City Hall — one for each victim.

In Rome's Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli, a memorial Mass included a twisted metal cross resting on a pile of rocks to symbolize the devastation.

Amid the countless memorials and events, some of the most profound moments occurred in silence. Perhaps millions of people — workers, children, stock-market traders, athletes — paused around the world for prayer or meditation.

After two minutes of silence in Copenhagen, Denmark, the city's Lord Mayor Jens Kramer Mikkelsen said: "We will not allow fear to overtake us."

A banner by Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa read: "From the tower to the towers. Sept. 11, 2002. Memory, solidarity, peace."

In Israel, meanwhile, many Israelis said they were deeply moved by the anniversary, but there remains a feeling that it took the terrorist attacks of a year ago to make Americans realize what Israelis feel they face all the time from Palestinian militants.

"Commemorating 9/11 is an important thing," said Yossie Levy, 40, a Jerusalem municipal worker who was browsing through a street fair in downtown Jerusalem at a spot that has been hit by many suicide bombings. "It hurts me very much that the Americans had to go through such a hell in which so many died cruelly and tragically. But we Israelis experience this daily. We all need to identify with the victims, whoever and wherever they are."

Despite the solidarity over attacks, the United States is regarded with complicated emotions, which was evident yesterday even just across its southern border, where the clampdown on traffic has made it increasingly difficult for Mexican workers to cross into the United States for work.

"Mexicans do the jobs in the United States that nobody else wants, but since Sept. 11, we've been treated like terrorists," said Eric Vasquez, 32, a Mexico City deliveryman who has several relatives in the United States.

Thousands of miles from Ground Zero, residents of the village of San Pablo Anicano recited rosaries in a humble bedroom yesterday for a native son who was one of 17 Mexicans killed in the attacks.

Leobardo Lopez Pascual, 42, was a cook at Windows on the World on the 107th floor of the trade center's north tower.

A poll published in the respected El Universal newspaper yesterday found that the country is split almost equally on whether Mexico should cooperate with the United States in the fight against terrorism.

The anniversary prompted officials to step up security alerts.

Citing "credible and specific" threats, the State Department and some of America's closest allies closed diplomatic offices in nine countries. All but one — the African nation of Malawi — were in Asia or the Middle East.

Many airports vividly displayed the depth of the public's worries: terminals packed with security, but with far fewer travelers than normal. At London Heathrow Airport, British Airways canceled half its trans-Atlantic flights for lack of passengers.

In Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, a somber memorial was held at the U.S. Embassy, which reopened after the fall of the Taliban. A bugler played taps. The U.S. flag was lowered to half-staff. A chunk of heat-fused glass and cement from the World Trade Center was buried under the flagpole.

Compiled from The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Reuters and Knight Ridder Newspapers reports.


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