wish I could remember more

NEW YORK Familiar rituals of grief marked the seventh anniversary of Sept. 11 on Thursday as thousands paid tribute at the attack sites, the presidential candidates laid flowers at ground zero, and children mourned parents they are barely old enough to remember.

Sens. and called off their campaigns for the day, and in the late afternoon descended the long ramp into the pit of the site, bowing their heads and leaving the flowers in a reflecting pool.

“Thanks to the brave men and women, wholesale jerseys and all those who work to keep us safe, there has not been another attack on our soil in 2,557 days,” President Bush said at the outdoor dedication. the times when two hijacked jets slammed into the buildings and the twin towers fell.

Alex, Aiden and now 13, 11 and 10 years old wore old soccer jerseys belonging to their father, broker , who was 37 when he was killed. They recalled playing in the yard with a toy wagon.

“He was strong. He was funny. He always made me laugh,” said. “I wish I could remember more, but we were so young when he died.”

“We love you, Daddy,” Anna said.

Still others chose to forgo the observances altogether and mark the day in quieter, private ways. toasted her late husband, , at a beach, with his favorite brand of beer.

“I try and celebrate his life rather than mark the place of his death,” she said.

Family members of the Trade Center dead and students representing the more than 90 countries that lost citizens in the attack Azerbaijan to Zambia read the names of the 2,975 victims.

Others descended seven stories below street level to pay respects where the towers once stood. A giant crane, an American flag hanging from a hook, overlooked the anniversary ceremony from ground zero, where office towers, a memorial and transit hub are under construction.

The New York memorial is years away from completion. Some of the mourners worried that the progress on it would prevent them from being allowed to pay respects next Sept. 11 on the ground where their loved ones died.

“When you walk through the site, you really feel like you’re right where they were, and it’s very raw,” said , whose brother, Jasper, died while attending a conference at the trade center. “I think the spot should remain raw.”

“They took from us innocent lives in the names of their God,” said , whose sister was killed Sept. 11, “and it seems some people have forgotten what happened here seven years ago.”

In Shanksville, Pa., McCain attended a simple ceremony held in a large field near the point where United Airlines Flight 93 slammed into the ground driven down, investigators believe, when passengers rushed the cockpit to prevent another attack on a building.

Obama, in a statement, recalled that after the attacks, “Americans across our great country came together to stand with the families of the victims, to donate blood, to give to charity and to say a prayer for our country. Let us renew that.”