U.S. Embassy Workers Lay Wreath And Roses At 9/11 Memorial Garden

LONDON (AP) -- U.S. Embassy staff laid 67 roses, one for each British life lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, at a London memorial garden on Friday.

U.S. Charge d'Affairs David Johnson told the gathering at Grosvenor Square - the park outside the U.S. Embassy that is often dubbed the capital's ``American Square'' - that families of the victims continued to suffer.

He also praised the police officers and firefighters who died trying to help others during and after the attacks.

``Much has been done since that tragic day to fight this scourge of evil, but today's not the day to talk about that,'' Johnson said shortly after laying a wreath in memory of all the nearly 3,000 victims of the airborne attacks.

``Today is the day to remember those who fell, and their families who continue to labor under a burden of grief. And it's a day to thank those who worked so hard and gave so much as the attacks unfolded,'' he added.

Embassy staff held the ceremony, watched by a strong police contingent, on Friday because the memorial garden will be closed to the public on Saturday for the private use of the victims' families.

Alexis Clarke, the chairwoman of the U.K. 9/11 families support group, was the only representative of the families present on Friday.

``It's wonderful to see the response from the American community here in London,'' she said after laying a rose.

Clarke, whose daughter Suria Clarke, 30, was killed in her Cantor Fitzgerald office in the north tower of the World Trade Center, said the small garden in the corner of the square had become a focus for the British families, who have held several gatherings there since the attacks.

It was particularly important for families who had never had a body returned to them, she said, adding she visited the small garden frequently.

``I will think of the people we loved and lost, and I will also think of all the other people who loved and lost in all the attacks around the world on whatever side they consider themselves to be,'' she said. ``I'm sure an Iraqi mother grieves in exactly the same way.''

A commemorative stone sits at the center of the garden, placed above a buried piece of a steel girder that was once part of the World Trade Center. Behind it stands an oak pergola and three plaques bearing the names of the Britons who died in the attacks.

``Grief is the price we pay for love,'' says an inscription above.

Oak pillars hold up vine trellises and flower beds are filled with plants and bushes from Britain and America that were chosen so their blooms would peak in September.

Johnson also spoke of the ``very special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, a relationship where we know we can count on one another in the good times and the bad.''