x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

White roses for the UK victims in the Twin Towers

The 67 Britons killed in the World Trade Centre were remembered yesterday at the September 11 Memorial Garden next to the US embassy in London.

LONDON // A white rose for each of the 67 Britons killed in the World Trade Centre was laid yesterday at the September 11 Memorial Garden next to the US embassy in London.

It was a keynote event among dozens of commemorative services held around the country, including a service at St Paul's Cathedral. Prayers were also offered for the almost 3,000 victims of 9/11 at churches around the United Kingdom just as they were at British mosques on Friday and synagogues on Saturday.

In a statement to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the foreign secretary, William Hague, said the Arab Spring more truly reflected the aspirations of Muslims rather than the 9/11 atrocities which, he said, had "only served to bring the international community closer together".

But it was the simple, moving service in the memorial garden, attended by the families of about 30 Britons who died, that captured the nation's collective sorrow for the loss of life 10 years ago.

The names of each of the UK victims was read out and minute's silence was observed to remember the 2,753 who died in New York, 184 in Washington and 40 in Pennsylvania.

"Ten years on from 9/11, we mourn those who lost their lives and we will never forget that more Britons perished in the World Trade Center - many of them Londoners - than in any previous terrorist atrocity," said Boris Johnson, London's mayor.

Survivors and relatives had earlier in the morning attended a service of "remembrance and reconciliation" in the Grosvenor Chapel, known as the "American church" because of its closeness to the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.

Courtney Cowart, who was nearly buried alive when the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on top of her, described her fears when she returned to the site for a church service five days later.

"Entering the heart of darkness, I was terrified. We were dwarfed by immense wreckage looming around us. It was a landscape drained of all colour," she told the congregation.

Politicians and senior diplomats from dozens of countries later attended memorial services at St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, at which members of the UK's Firefighters Memorial Trust laid a wreath in honour of the 343 members of the New York Fire Department who died.

Major memorial services were also held at other cathedrals including Exeter, Birmingham, Truro and Glasgow. In Edinburgh, Christian, Muslim and other faith leaders led a "peace walk" through the city.

dsapsted@thenational.ae