Wellington, New Zealand, Sept 11 : Commemorations marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are under way in the Pacific as officials and families of the lost gathered in solidarity.
Players from the American Eagles rugby team joined hundreds of others Sunday morning at a memorial service in the town of New Plymouth, New Zealand. The team is in the country to play in the Rugby World Cup tournament. U.S. ambassador David Huebner also attended the service at St. Andrews church.
People across the world plan to commemorate the day, while world leaders are sending messages of mourning and hope. In Australia, Sydney resident Rae Tompsett said she's never felt angry over the murder of her son Stephen Tompsett, 39, a computer engineer who was on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower when it was hit by a hijacked plane.
"No, not anger," she said. "Sorrow. Sorrow that the people who did this believed they were doing something good." The retired school teacher and her husband Jack, 92, are planning to attend Sunday morning mass as usual at their local church before going to a commemorative service in the afternoon.
"It's incredible that it is 10 years -- it feels a bit like yesterday," Tompsett said. In the Philippines, President Benigno Aqiuno III praised the heroism shown by many on 9/11.
"Most of all, this is a day for all nations and peoples to reaffirm their commitment to peace and stability built on mutual respect and dialogue between cultures and religions," a statement said.
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, conveying his "deepest condolences" to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, their bereaved families and the American public. Lee, whose country is one of the strongest allies of the United States, called the attacks "unpardonable" and praised decade-long U.S. efforts to fight terrorism.
Meanwhile, authorities in New York and Washington are beefing up security for their 9/11 memorial services after intelligence agents got a tip that three al-Qaida members could be planning to set off a car bomb in one of the cities. Officials have found no evidence any terrorists have sneaked into the country. AP