Sept. 11 commemoration moved from DC cathedral

September 8, 2011 - 11:25 AM
CORRECTION National Cathedral Crane Collapse

** CORRECTS TO 500-TON CRANE ** A large construction crane is seen upended next to the Washington National Cathedral Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, in Washington. The 500-ton crane fell amid thunderstorms, damaging two buildings and several vehicles. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The collapse of a massive crane brought in to repair earthquake damage at the Washington National Cathedral has forced a Sept. 11 commemoration with President Barack Obama to change venues, organizers said Thursday.

Sunday's "Concert for Hope" will be held at the Kennedy Center. The president is still expected to speak at the event, which will also feature performances by Patti LaBelle, Alan Jackson and mezzo soprano Denyce Graves.

The crane, which had been brought in to stabilize debris from the Aug. 23 earthquake, toppled over Wednesday morning. The crane operator was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released.

The cathedral itself was not damaged, but buildings housing the headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and a gift shop sustained minor damage.

"We are grateful that there were no serious injuries in the crane accident, and while we are disappointed that we will not be able to host our 'Call to Compassion' commemoration in the cathedral itself, we are determined to live out our mission to serve as the spiritual home for the nation as we remember the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001," Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III said in a statement.

A Sept. 11 anniversary event scheduled for Friday at the cathedral is also relocating to the Kennedy Center. The "Concert to Honor" victims, survivors, their families, emergency responders and troops will feature Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Marine and Navy musicians.

The Kennedy Center will honor all confirmed tickets for the concerts.

A Sunday morning interfaith vigil, set for the times when airplanes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania, will move from the cathedral to the Washington Hebrew Congregation.