Americans and their supporters in Hong Kong yesterday turned out to grieve, pray for the dead and seek solace in the wake of last week's US terrorist attacks. They made pilgrimages to services at St John's Anglican Cathedral in Central and a candlelight vigil at the American International School. More than 1,000 mourners attended two services at St John's, while about 400 students, teachers and relatives attended the vigil in Kowloon Tong. The cathedral's ceremonies were punctuated by sobbing. Dominating the church foyer was a prayer board crammed with poignant messages in English and Chinese. 'Dear Lord, please accept the soul of my loved one,' read one. 'Let us unite against the evil power of those trying to tear us apart,' read another. Others called for 'justice for the victims' and 'justice for America'. Yet more pleaded for peace. 'It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practise the virtues of compassion and tolerance,' read one. Another: 'Courage go forward, forgive and forget.' Some mourners wore the American flag close to their chests, others red, white and blue ribbons as a show of solidarity. Many said they were not regular church-goers but felt an overwhelming urge to attend the service. Most were too upset to talk. One New Yorker said she had a friend who was missing after the World Trade Centre tragedy but could say no more. Her loss was too painful. American Amy Weaver, who is from Seattle but had worked in New York, said she attended because it was 'important to come together with other people who shared the same sense of loss'. Ms Weaver said she was disappointed the SAR Government had not organised a public gathering, but was pleased the church had. 'It was a very nice service - reassuring,' she said. Another New Yorker, Joe Sevack, said he was devastated by the attack and called for those responsible to be punished. The Rotary Club of Hong Kong delivered a wreath of lilies carrying the message: 'In honour of the brave.' Father Frank Nelson said the service had been organised for those who wished 'to express in some small way, their prayers and emotions about the tragic events of last Tuesday in the US. We are mindful of the fact that much of the world lives with the kind of terror and fear that we have witnessed so dramatically this past week, of evil and dastardly acts. 'We pray that our belief in God's justice and love will continue to sustain people of goodwill whatever their faith and will save us from blind anger and hasty judgment. 'All the world's great religions teach that revenge and despair simply fuel more violence and pain.' Mourners were invited to light candles and offer individual prayers. Excerpts were read from recent speeches given by Anglican archbishops, including Archbishop Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, who recently visited the scene of devastation in New York. 'Many are speaking of revenge,' he said. 'I am not immune to emotions of rage and revenge, but I know that acting on them only perpetuates the very violence I pray will be dissipated and overcome.' The congregation sang Psalm 23, The Lord's My Shepherd, and the service ended with the Lord's Prayer. After the vigil, Father Nelson said people were not in the mood for talking, but most expressed gratitude that the church had provided a focal point for their mourning. He said the church had provided counselling service brochures to people who attended 'for those who may need to talk'. At the American International School, the grief of the mourners was summed up by teacher Jennifer von Ruden, who could not hold back her tears as she said last week's events had made terrorism real to Americans who thought such things only happened to other people. 'It became very real when I spoke to a friend - a former teacher at this school - who said four of her friends were missing,' Ms von Ruden told the assembly. 'They could have been my friends and my family.' Consul Jay Anania of the American Consulate-General said the freedoms and values of Americans had come under attack. 'I ask you to reflect on the cost of freedom and what each one of us must do to defend it,' he said. Year 12 student Meredith Brand said the school had run out of candles to distribute to mourners, whose number exceeded expectations. She said many of her schoolmates were stunned and saddened by the events. 'I was shocked. My mouth just dropped,' she said. Nicole Masterton, whose husband's family lives in New York, said she just had to be at the vigil. 'I stayed up for three days watching it just crying, worried about everybody at home,' she said. Her seven-year-old daughter, Kymmie Bullack, wore a T-shirt that said 'We will survive' printed over an American flag. 'She and I both made it today,' Ms Masterton said. The middle school's vice-principal, Cameron Fox, said the initial reaction among the 650 students was one of 'utter shock and disbelief'. After one week they had adjusted. He said: 'They've digested what has happened and come to terms with it.'