Homage to WTC dead

NEW YORK – On the first day of his official visit to the United States, Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday visited Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center, to honor the thousands of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and declare Greece’s unswerving commitment to the war against terrorism. The prime minister and his entourage visited the site in the company of Archbishop Demetrius of North and South America. The sheer magnitude of the scene of devastation overwhelms the senses, despite the fact that the images have become so familiar across the world. All the streets around the site are cordoned off and stores shuttered, while work crews labor to recover the remains of the thousands of victims. A makeshift observation platform hosts the messages of the families, friends and young children of the victims. Simitis placed a few flowers at the site of the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas that was destroyed when the Twin Towers came crashing down upon it. He then went to the observation platform, where he condemned terrorism in the strongest terms. «Each one of us must bow his head and think of all those who were lost in this holy place because of an act of unbelievable barbarism, a despicable act of terrorism, a display of inconceivable bestiality,» Simitis said. «Greece supports the just cause of the war against terrorism, because we want a world in which there will be peace, cooperation and the common effort for development.» In his brief comments, Simitis also referred to the Greek Americans who died in the terrorist attacks. He handed Archbishop Demetrius a check for $500,000 to go toward the reconstruction of St. Nicholas. Simitis was accompanied by Senator Charles Schumer of New York. The archbishop held a memorial service at the site. Before that, the Greek prime minister and Demetrius had held a meeting in which Simitis praised the role the church plays in promoting Greek interests, and he promised to help the church’s educational activities. Simitis was to meet later with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss the Cyprus issue. He will meet with President George W. Bush and other senior US officials today. (Editorial Page 2)

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