New Yorkers to Commemorate Those Died on September 11

On Friday, the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a somber vigil is planned at the World Trade Center where mourners will remember the 2,752 people who died in the destruction of the Twin Towers.

They will also mourn those who died in the attacks just hours later on the Pentagon and those who died on a fourth plane, which crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers overpowered the hijackers.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials will be on hand for the annual ritual at Ground Zero, which includes a reading of all the victims names and a moment of silence to mark the impact of the two hijacked planes and the collapse of the towers.

Powerful lights will send beams skyward from the now-empty site at nightfall tonight. Rebuilding at the site has been delayed over plans, financing squabbles and the downturned economy.

St. Paul 's Chapel located on Broadway at Wall Street will open its doors at 6 p.m. for an all-night vigil and labyrinth walk until 6 a.m. The Bell of Hope will be rung at 8:46 am, with events in the church continuing until 2 p.m., NBC New York reports.

While the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site has lagged. Only the steel frame of one of the four planned office towers has been erected just above ground level.

On the site where the Twin Towers and other World Trade Center buildings stood, plans call for four skyscrapers including One World Trade Center, formerly called the Freedom Tower, which will be the size of one of the former Twin Towers but with a much taller antenna.

There will also be a memorial and museum with reflecting pools built on the footprints of the Twin Towers and waterfalls cascading into a subterranean visitor space.

The landowning agency, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, says One World Trade Center, the memorial and the museum will be finished in 2013.

A mass transit hub, whose elaborate design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has been repeatedly simplified, should be done by 2014, Reuters reports.

In the meantime, much has been said and written about what happened on 9/11. The following day is often forgotten. But New Yorkers were introduced that day to presumptions about their wounded city that many thought would become chiseled into the event's enduring legacy.

New York would become a fortress city, choked by apprehension and resignation, forever patrolled by soldiers and submarines. Another attack was coming. Soon.

Eight years later, those presumptions are cobwebbed memories that never came to pass. Indeed, glimpses into a few aspects of the city help measure the gap between what was predicted and what actually came to be.

You could start at one downtown street corner. The wisdom of the day after was that New York would never again bunch together important institutional nerve centers, binding them together in vulnerability.

On Sept. 11, American Express had its headquarters at the southwest corner of West and Vesey streets. It is still there. Since then, Verizon has moved its headquarters into the northeast corner. Goldman Sachs has taken the northwest. All that's missing is the southeast corner; that will be filled by the tallest building in America, Austin American-Statesman reports.