Torch honors victims, passes through NYC

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2001

NEW YORK -- The Olympic torch paused for a solemn ceremony in front of the Statue of Liberty on Sunday night before Mayor Rudolph Giuliani carried it on the final leg in New York.

Citing emergency workers killed while trying to save others on Sept. 11, Giuliani said, ''I carry this flame as a representative of these wonderful people.''

Thousands of people crowded Rockefeller Center to watch as Giuliani, wearing a New York Police Department coat and Fire Department of New York hat, used the torch to light a cauldron under a large statue of the Greek god Prometheus.

The cauldron will keep the flame burning until Wednesday, when the torch will head for Connecticut and Rhode Island on its 65-day, 13,500-mile journey to the Feb. 8-24 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The flame arrived in midtown Manhattan after a ferry carried it from Queens past the Statue of Liberty.

Fourteen people -- police officers, firefighters and relatives of Sept. 11 victims -- each held the torch as the ferry paused in front of the statue.

With the statue's flame lighting the sky in the background, several of the Olympic torchbearers held up pictures of lost colleagues and loved ones.

The torchbearers, Olympic committee members and other guests sang ''God Bless America.''

Connor Geraghty, who lost his firefighter father, Edward Geraghty, on Sept. 11, carried the torch off the ferry with his mother, Mary Geraghty.

''I'm not doing this just for my husband but for all of the victims -- the rescue workers and the civilians -- for every single one of them. We want them to know that we represent all of them. That's what made this such an honor,'' Mary Geraghty said.

Earlier Sunday, the torch was carried across the Goethals Bridge into Staten Island to begin the New York leg of its 125-city trek.

After winding through Staten Island, the torch was taken across the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn.

More than 100 runners, nominated for the honor by friends and relatives, carried the torch on its trip through New York City.

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