Americans across the nation remember 9/11 attacks
NEW YORK -- Led by President Barack Obama, Americans commemorated the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Thursday by observing moments of silence for the thousands killed that day at New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentago...
NEW YORK - Led by President Barack Obama, Americans commemorated the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Thursday by observing moments of silence for the thousands killed that day at New York City’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
In what has become an annual ritual, relatives began slowly reciting the nearly 3,000 names of the victims at a ceremony in lower Manhattan, from Gordon Aamoth Jr. to Igor Zukelman.
Readers would occasionally pause as a silver bell was rung to mark the exact times when each of the four planes hijacked by al-Qaida militants crashed at the three sites and when each of the World Trade Center’s twin towers collapsed. With each bell, a moment of silence was observed.
Obama spoke at the Pentagon during a private ceremony for relatives of the 184 people killed in the attack on the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters in Arlington, Va., several miles from the White House.
He laid a wreath of white lilies and chrysanthemums, and kept his hand on his heart as “Taps” played.
“Thirteen years after small, hateful minds conspired to break us, America stands tall and America stands proud,” Obama said.
In New York, the voice of Tom Monahan, a 54-year-old man with salt-and-pepper hair and broad shoulders, cracked when he talked about the brother and cousin he lost in the attack.
“Everything is fine until you get here,” he said before waving his hands as if to signal he could not talk anymore. He emerged from the security checkpoints an hour later and showed a reporter a message he had sent on his cell phone to his sister. “9-12 couldn’t come soon enough,” it said.
Beyond the checkpoints, an invitation-only crowd stood beneath an overcast sky in the memorial plaza at the heart of the new World Trade Center, which is nearing completion in lower Manhattan. Some of those in attendance were dressed in military uniform, others wore T-shirts and sneakers.
Many people held up posters with smiling photographs of their dead relatives. Red roses and American flags poked up from the bronze plates bearing victims’ names that ring the two waterfalls that now trace the footprints of the fallen towers.
On Wednesday, Obama said he had ordered an aerial bombing campaign targeting the group, which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and released videos of beheadings of two American journalists.
“It definitely drives home the fact that there are certain things that haven’t changed since September 11th,” Brendan Chellis, who was working on the 30th floor of one of the twin towers at the time of the attack, said outside the New York ceremony.