Authors: By NICK PERRY
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Ten years on from the day the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed so much for so many people, the world's leaders and millions of citizens are pausing to reflect.
From Sydney to Atlanta, formal ceremonies are planned or already under way to remember the nearly 3,000 who perished from more than 90 countries. And, in a reminder that threats remain, authorities in Washington and New York are beefing up security in response to intelligence about possible plans for a car bomb attack.
In New Zealand, players from the American Eagles rugby team were among the first to mark the occasion at a Sunday memorial service in the town of New Plymouth. The players, who are participating in the Rugby World Cup tournament, listened to a speech by U.S. ambassador David Huebner, whose brother Rick survived the attacks on the World Trade Center.
"We watched live on television the brutal murder of 3,000 individuals," Huebner said. "We reacted with near unanimous horror and sadness."
He said people should "commemorate the triumph of human kindness, and the humanity and self-abrogation which sets us apart from every other species on this planet Earth."
In Australia, Sydney resident Rae Tompsett said she's never felt angry over the murder of her son Stephen Tompsett, 39, a computer engineer who was on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower when it was hit by a hijacked plane.
"No, not anger," she said. "Sorrow. Sorrow that the people who did this believed they were doing something good."
The retired school teacher and her husband Jack, 92, are planning to attend Sunday morning mass as usual at their local church before going to a commemorative service in the afternoon.
"It's incredible that it is 10 years - it feels a bit like yesterday," Tompsett said.
In the Philippines, President Benigno Aqiuno III praised the heroism shown by many on 9/11.
"Most of all, this is a day for all nations and peoples to reaffirm their commitment to peace and stability built on mutual respect and dialogue between cultures and religions," a statement said.
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, conveying his "deepest condolences" to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, their bereaved families and the American public. Lee, whose country is one of the strongest allies of the United States, called the attacks "unpardonable" and praised decade-long U.S. efforts to fight terrorism.
Meanwhile, authorities in New York and Washington are increasing security for their 9/11 memorial services after intelligence agents got a tip that three al-Qaida members could be planning to set off a car bomb in one of the cities. Officials have found no evidence any terrorists have sneaked into the country.
Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra contributed. Gordon Brown contributed to this report from New Plymouth, New Zealand."