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An Olympic Christmas

The Olympic torch paused for a brief but solemn ceremony at the Statue of Liberty on Sunday before it was handed off to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the final leg of its tour through New York.

Thousands crowded into Rockefeller Center to watch as Giuliani used the torch to light a cauldron under a large statue of the Greek god Prometheus.

"I carry this flame as a representative of these wonderful people," said Giuliani, citing the emergency workers who sacrificed their lives Sept. 11.

Runners who lost family members and friends in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks carried the torch across Staten Island and into Brooklyn Sunday morning as part of the New York leg of its 46-state, 13,500-mile journey to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Later in the day, a ferry delivered the torch from Queens, around the lower tip of Manhattan and past the Statue of Liberty.

More than 100 runners, nominated for the honor by friends and relatives, carried the torch on its trip through New York City. Fourteen people - police officers, firefighters and relatives of Sept. 11 victims - each held the torch as the ferry paused in front of the statue.

Connor Geraghty, who lost his firefighter father, Edward Geraghty, in the attack on the trade center, carried the torch off the ferry with his mother.

"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.

Giuliani helped carry the torch from a midtown pier to Rockefeller Center where a candlelight ceremony was under way to honor the victims of the attacks.

The Olympic flame will be kept burning in a cauldron until Dec. 26, when the torch relay starts again, passing through the Bronx on its way to Connecticut.

The torch is on a 65-day journey through 46 states and 125 cities.

By Dunstan Prial © MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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