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Wednesday, 11 September 2013 01:40

9/11 anniversary to be marked with tributes

   NEW YORK (AP) - Sept. 11 victims' loved ones will gather at ground zero to commemorate the attacks' anniversary with the reading of names, moments of silence and serene music that have become tradition.

   At Wednesday's ceremony on the 9/11 memorial plaza, relatives will recite the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died when hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa.

   The Pentagon and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville also plan name-reading, wreath-laying and other tributes.

   The anniversary is expected to be the last before the Sept. 11 museum opens at ground zero. That's due this spring.

   Changes also are coming at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville. Officials gathered there Tuesday to mark the start of construction on a visitor center.

   

 
Published in National News

   MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Elvis Presley fans from around the world made their annual pilgrimage to Graceland on Thursday to pay their respects to the rock n' roll icon with a solemn candlelight vigil on the 36th anniversary of his death.

   Thousands of Presley fans carried lit candles as they walked silently through the Mediation Garden at Graceland, Presley's longtime Memphis home. The garden is the location of Presley's grave and also is the spot where his mother, father and grandmother are buried.

   Wreaths of flowers and pictures of Presley encircled the grave, while shadows cast by the glowing candles danced along the stone wall surrounding the garden. Soft music played in the mild night, as some in the procession bowed their heads or cried quietly.

   Each year, fans of Presley's music and movies come to Memphis for Elvis Week, the weeklong celebration of his life and career. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, of a heart attack after battling prescription drug abuse.

   The vigil is the highlight of Elvis Week, which this year featured a listening party at Stax Records for the recent release of the three-CD box set "Elvis at Stax." Performances by Presley tribute artists and a screening of the "Aloha from Hawaii" television program from January 1973 are other featured events of the weeklong reunion, which wraps up Saturday.

   Police estimated 35,000 people would attend the vigil. Last year, an estimated 75,000 people descended on Graceland for the event. Elvis' ex-wife Priscilla Presley and his daughter Lisa Marie Presley spoke at last year's event, the first time they appeared together at the vigil since it began.

   Christine Jeffords made her fifth trip to Graceland with her husband Jon and three other members of a fan club called the Elvis Midwest Mafia, whose members are from Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. They wore red T-shirts with Presley's image emblazoned on a king of hearts playing card on the front.

   The back of their shirts had a quote that gives one reason why fans have made repeated trips to Memphis for Elvis Week and the vigil: "If you have a friend who is an Elvis fan, you have a friend for life."

   "Where else can you go where you meet people from year to year who have the same passion?" said Christine Jeffords, a pre-school teacher from Hartford, Wis.

   Jeffords, 52, smiles when she talks about buying her first Presley 45, "Let Yourself Go," which she bought as a young teen with money she had saved from babysitting jobs. She said the vigil is a way to remember not only his career, but also his giving personality and ability to make people happy with his music.

   "If you were sad or happy or whatever, he was such a big part of your life," Jeffords said. "I always felt in my heart that he was a good person, a beautiful person."

   The vigil started as an informal gathering the year after his death. It has blossomed into a major tourist event. Fans begin lining up along the outer wall of Graceland about 12 hours before the vigil, and many will stay until the early morning hours of the next day.

   The event also has become an international affair and a tribute to the Tupelo, Miss., native's worldwide popularity, hosting fans from Australia, Brazil, England and Japan and other foreign countries.

   Miguel Salinas Caceres, 53, came with other members of a fan club whose members are from Chile. Making his first visit to Graceland, Salinas Caceres recalled making scrapbooks of newspaper article clippings about Presley when he was a teen.

   The articles and scrapbooks were a way he and his family followed and learned about Presley because they could not afford a record player or even the records themselves. He said his family used to pay a neighbor who owned a television so that they could watch Presley movies and other TV programs at the neighbors' house.

   "For a person who is an Elvis fan and has the chance to come to the place he lived, it's emotional for me," said Salinas Caceres, of Santiago, Chile. "It's hard to believe that I'm here on the street where he walked, the street corners where he stood, the restaurants where he ate."

   His fellow fan club member Rodrigo Gandarillas, a native Chilean who now lives in Houston, is on his second visit to Graceland. An Elvis tribute artist himself, the 39-year-old Gandarillas said the vigil is a way to give thanks for the enjoyment Presley has given him.

   "The thing that impacts me the most about the vigil is the large amount of people from different countries, different races and different languages who understand 'the King's' musical message," Gandarillas said.

Published in National News

Today marks ten years since a 9-year-old St. Louis boy went missing.

Christian Freguson was in his father's SUB when it was stolen. Police found the vehicle, but Christian was gone. The boy has a serious medical condition that requires he follows a strict health regiment to keep him alive.

The Ferguson family still celebrates his birthday and set up the "Looking for an Angel" foundation in his honor.

 

Published in Local News

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) - Veterans of the 1944 Normandy landings gathered Thursday at the site of history's largest amphibious invasion for a day of ceremonies marking D-Day's 69th anniversary.

 

Around two dozen US vets, some in their old uniforms pinned with medals, stood and saluted during a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial overlooking Omaha Beach, where a U.S. cemetery holds the remains of over 9,000 Americans who died during the vicious battle to storm the French beach under withering Nazi fire.

 

Commemorations of the June, 6, 1944, battle began in respectful silence early Thursday morning, with the stars-and-stripes raised in a quiet ceremony at the cemetery.

 

Tourists, many from the U.S. and Britain, gathered under a brilliant spring sky to witness the flag-raising amid the neat rows of thousands of white marble crosses and stars of David marking the graves of U.S. servicemen and women fallen in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

 

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, on "D-Day," beginning the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II.

 

A full day of ceremonies - including fireworks, concerts and marches - was taking place across Normandy in honor of the more than 150,000 troops, mainly U.S., British and Canadian, who risked or gave their lives in the invasion.

 

"The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory!" Eisenhower said in an historic address after the invasion was launched.

 

Published in National News
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 16:48

MetroBus celebrates 50 years in service

Mass transit company Metro celebrated a milestone anniversary Wednesday. 

 

With the first 50 years in the books, MetroBus is building a reputation as a leader in the industry with new technologies developed in St. Louis that enhance fuel economy, cut pollution and further the focus on running green. Ray Friem is with Metro Transit Services. 

 

The reason St. Louis is becoming that is our maintenance department has developed systems and detection methods that are unique. And so the manufacturers of this equipment are coming to us and saying look we'd like to take advantage of that and test this in your environment.

 

MetroBus serves 29 millions riders annually.

Published in Local News

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