NEW YORK - The nation will remember last Sept. 11 mostly in silence, with few sounds other than bells tolling, military jets roaring in tribute and the reading of victims' names.
At the World Trade Center, felled by two of the four hijacked jetliners, family members and dignitaries will read the names of the 2,801 dead and missing this morning, an hour-and-a-half recitation to begin and end with moments of silence and include readings of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address.
The city's remembrance was to begin with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane hit the trade center - and end just before 10:30 a.m., when the second tower collapsed.
A wall etched with the names of the dead and missing was unveiled Tuesday at a new ground zero viewing stand. The wall will eventually extend around the perimeter of the trade center site.
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Cities across the country were to fall silent for moments in the morning and throughout the day. In Los Angeles, houses of worship were asked to ring bells at 5:46 a.m., followed by a moment of silence.
A ceremony was planned at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which marks what had been the worst act of terrorism on American soil. In Chicago, home to the nation's tallest building - the Sears Tower - residents will observe three minutes of silence before an interfaith prayer at Daley Plaza.
In New York, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was scheduled to lead a long line of people reading the victims' names in alphabetical order. Others include Secretary of State Colin Powell, actor Robert De Niro and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
After the first moment of silence, Gov. George Pataki will read from the Gettysburg Address, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will introduce the reading of the names.
The ceremony will conclude with a reading from the Declaration of Independence by New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey.
Bloomberg said the two historical addresses are relevant in observing the anniversary. The Gettysburg Address "talks about hallowed ground, it talks of the continuity that's America. Everything that Abraham Lincoln talked about is still true today."
The recitation of the names will pause for readings by family members at 9:03 a.m., when the second plane struck, and 9:59 a.m., when the first tower fell. Ed Skyler, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said the passages to be read have not been decided.
Many of the 197 people scheduled to read names lost loved ones in the attacks. At about 9:04 a.m., families are invited to descend the ramp that extends into the seven-story pit, where they can pick up a rose and place it in a vase for an arrangement that will be preserved for a permanent memorial.
A ceremony at the Pentagon, where 189 people were killed, including five hijackers, will begin at 9:30 a.m., and include a moment of silence, the Pledge of Allegiance and musical selections by military bands.
Thousands were expected to gather today in the Pennsylvania field where the fourth hijacked plane crashed. Nearly 500 friends and relatives of victims of United Airlines Flight 93 privately shared their grief and memories at the crash site Tuesday.
Reporters and the public were barred from the site, where 44 people died - including the four hijackers - when the plane went down Sept. 11 just outside Shanksville. Family members later described the gathering as a healing way to remember the passengers and crew.
The gathering was "solemn and sad, and yet celebratory," said Alice Hoglan, 52, of Los Gatos, Calif., whose son, Mark Bingham, was killed. "It was very healing. It was almost a joyful event for me."
Today's ceremony at 10:06 a.m., the time of the plane crash, will include a moment of silence and a reading of the 40 victims' names as bells are tolled. Scheduled speakers were to include homeland security chief Tom Ridge, who was Pennsylvania's governor at the time of the crash, and Sandy Dahl, the wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl.
Nationwide, ceremonies were to rely on symbolism and historical references.
Barbara Minervino, who lost her husband, is not going to New York City's ceremony, but said keeping speeches out of the anniversary remembrances was a good idea.
"There are no words, really, that anyone can say, that would heal the heart, that would change the moment, so silence is probably best," Minervino said.
But Mary Beth Norton, a professor of history at Cornell University, said: "Wordless ceremonies or repeating things written in the past strike me as a statement that we're almost not up to commemorating an event of this magnitude properly."
President Bush will visit all three disaster sites today, traveling from the Pentagon to Pennsylvania to New York's ground zero.
Bush will address the nation tonight from Ellis Island, with another symbol - the Statue of Liberty - as his backdrop. He hopes it will remind "America again of our moral calling, our higher purpose as the beacon of liberty and freedom for people around the world," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.
Anniversary planning came as the Bush administration on Tuesday raised the terror alert for the first time to code orange, signaling a high danger of attack. Officials said the alert was prompted by specific and credible threats to American embassies overseas.
"We are not recommending that events be canceled," Attorney General John Ashcroft said. He said the government asks Americans to "mark the anniversary with heightened awareness of their environment and the activities occurring around them."
Chicago is one of many cities that plan a military flyover to mark the anniversary. Military helicopters will buzz Boise; the Iowa National Guard will fly over Des Moines; and F-16 fighter jets will fly over Bismarck, N.D.