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Associated Press/Photo by Jim Colllins

Charged day

9/11 | The ninth anniversary of 9/11 has a new layer-protests of a proposed mosque follow memorials for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks

A month before New York bond broker Peter Ortale died in the 9/11 attacks, he made his way into a Wall Street Journal story about unconventional cooking methods. Ortale's memorable tip: Steam fish in the dishwasher. The playful amateur cook said he steamed salmon-wrapped in aluminum foil-for about 50 minutes from the soak to the dry cycle: "Comes out perfect every time."

Nearly six weeks later, Ortale's wife, Mary Duff, made her way onto the cover of WORLD Magazine: The heartbreaking photo showed the grief-stricken widow just days after 9/11, clutching her wedding photo on the streets of Lower Manhattan, where Ortale had died with thousands of other victims at the hands of evil terrorists.

On Saturday morning-the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks-Ortale's name will be one of the nearly 3,000 read aloud at a solemn ceremony that takes place each year at the World Trade Center site. Participants-including Vice President Joe Biden and family members of the dead-will observe four moments of silence: the two moments that the hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center towers and the two moments that the towers began to fall.

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But the morning silence will likely break with an edge that makes this 9/11 different: At least six separate protests are expected at the site for a proposed mosque near the former World Trade Center. Some demonstrators will oppose the mosque, others will support it, and police say they are preparing for any sparks: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said several hundred police officers would patrol the events.

Pamela Geller-leader of a group called Stop Islamization of America-is organizing what is expected to be the largest demonstration-a protest of the mosque that may draw more than a thousand people to the proposed mosque site.

Geller's website says the speaker list includes families of 9/11 victims, former UN ambassador John Bolton, two congressional candidates, a Senate candidate, and an attorney from the American Center for Law and Justice, which has filed a suit to stop the mosque's construction near Ground Zero.

Geller acknowledged that a group of 9/11 families asked her not to hold the rally on Sept. 11, but said a larger group of victims' families asked her to move forward. Geller has asked demonstrators at the event to carry American flags instead of protest signs, and has said the demonstration won't include chanting. At least one 9/11 group-9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters & WTC Victims-has publicly supported the protest.

Hundreds of other events around New York City will focus on memorials instead of protests, including concerts and the annual "Tribute in Light"-two columns of lights projected from Lower Manhattan that can be seen from Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey.

The lights will also be visible from the SoHo neighborhood in Manhattan where Ortale, 37, lived with his wife before he died on Sept. 11. The former Duke lacrosse player worked for Euro Brokers on the 82nd floor of the World Trade Center. He and Duff had been married for 16 months.

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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