Harper to mark 9/11 anniversary in NYC

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will spend the weekend in New York City for events to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will spend Saturday and Sunday in New York City marking the tenth anniversary of the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will spend the weekend in New York City to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept.11 attacks.

His office said Friday that Harper will attend a private reception for the families of Canadian victims on Saturday "to show his support for those affected by the senseless and tragic attacks."

On Sunday, the anniversary, the prime minister will attend an event remembering the 24 Canadian victims, which will take place at a memorial at the British Garden in the heart of Manhattan. The garden memorial space was created to honour the 67 British citizens who died on Sept. 11.

"On this day, we will pay tribute to Canadians, Americans and all those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago in these heinous attacks," Harper said in a statement. "As we pay tribute to the victims and their loved ones, we also honour members of the military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel who continue to fight on the front lines against all forms of terrorism.

"Together with our friends and allies, our government will continue to stand firm against the threat of global terrorism. We will remain vigilant and work relentlessly in the hope of a more secure and peaceful future."

Obama letter thanks Canadians

U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to Harper on Thursday, thanking Canadian citizens for taking in thousands of stranded travellers after the Federal Aviation Administration closed U.S. airports on Sept. 11, 2001, in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

"For the next three days — before our airspace was reopened — those displaced passengers were treated like family in Canadian homes," he wrote.

Obama specifically mentioned Gander, Nfld., the town of 9,600 that provided food and shelter to 6,700 passengers 10 years ago and was honoured at 9/11 commemorative event in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night.

Harper's visit to New York comes as the city prepares to face a potential terror threat before the anniversary. U.S. officials said Thursday that they were investigating a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaeda threat to use a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York or Washington.

This will be the second consecutive weekend Harper will spend in New York. Last weekend he was there on a private visit and took in a baseball game, among other activities.