Organizers of Networld Interop 2001 held a nondenominational prayer service in Atlanta Wednesday in observance of the attacks yesterday on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
About 100 attendees gathered for the service in an auditorium within the Georgia World Congress Center, where the event is being held this week. The service was also broadcast over the convention center's audio system.
Gerald Durley, reverend of the Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta, led the service, calling for prayers for the families of people lost in the attacks, for police and rescue workers at the attack scenes and for America's children today asking parents and teachers why something like this would happen to us.
"You are never lost when God gives you another day to see another opportunity," Durley said. "There is something in this that you and I can gain, and I think the power is that it pulls us together."
The stage from which Durley spoke just hours earlier was the site of a keynote address by Network Appliance CEO Daniel Warmenhoven, the first step by show organizers to return to scheduled show events after cancelling two keynote addresses Tuesday and closing the exhibit hall four hours early.
A second keynote address, by Daniel Byrne, regional sales manager at Computer Associates International spin-off iCan SP, is scheduled for this afternoon. Byrne is speaking in place of CEO Nancy Li, who could not get to Atlanta.
Organizers said they debated the pros and cons of proceeding with the show but decided to go ahead with scheduled activities, heeding President George Bush's call to the nation Tuesday night to not let terrorist acts bring the country to a standstill.
"We have to continue," said John Roy, technology strategist of securities research and economics at Merrill Lynch, New York.
Roy, who was en route to Atlanta via airplane Tuesday when the attacks took place, said it is still unclear what impact the events will have on U. S financial markets when they reopen for trading.
"It's going to be awhile before [the financial community] pulls through, but you'd be amazed how innovative people can be to pull through something like this," he said.
Merrill Lynch has offices in New York's World Financial Center, near the World Trade Center, said Roy.
"As far as I know, my building is still standing," he said.