Nearly Two Decades Later, America Vows to Never Forget 9/11
WASHINGTON – Across the nation and here in the nation’s Capitol, Americans gathered for solemn ceremonies and remembrances Wednesday to honor those lost in the deadliest terror attacks on American soil.
In New York, a crowd of victims’ relatives assembled at ground zero, where an observance began with a moment of silence and the tolling of bells at 8:46 a.m., the moment the hijacked American Airlines Flight #11 slammed into the World Trade Center’s north tower.
A second flight, United Airlines Flight #175 collided with the trade center’s south tower moments later.
In Washington, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participated in a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House, where the American flag flew at half-staff.
The Trumps then headed to the Pentagon to joined Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. in a commemoration of victims killed when American Airlines Flight #77 was crashed into the west side of the building.
Members of Congress held their own moment of silence on Capitol Hill. Vice President Mike Pence delivered remarks at a commemorative service in Shanksville, Penn., where United Airlines Flight #93 crashed after passengers tried to take control of their flight from the hijackers.
Former President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief at the time of the 2001 attacks, is due at an afternoon wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
A total 2,977 people were killed at the three locations during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. An estimated 6,000 others were injured.
In a proclamation marking the anniversary as “Patriot Day,” Trump reflected on how many Americans recall the moment when the terror group conducted the largest attack on American soil, killing nearly 3,000 people.
“A beautiful September morning was marred by stark disbelief, agonizing sorrow, and profound suffering,” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. “America’s strength, courage, and compassion, however, never wavered.”
This past summer, Congress ensured a victims compensation fund for people with potentially Sept. 11-related health problems is funded in perpetuity. Over 51,000 people have applied for benefits to date, and it was feared the fund would prematurely run dry. Trump signed the measure in July.
The sick and injured gained new recognition this year at the memorial plaza at ground zero, where the new 9/11 Memorial Glade was dedicated this spring.
The tribute features six large stacks of granite inlaid with salvaged trade center steel, with a dedication “to those whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness, and death.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Monday that its 9/11 memorial will close next week for electrical and lighting work. The project, expected to take until late May, includes repairs to lighting glitches in the shallow reflecting pools under the memorial benches.
Sept. 11 is known not only as a day for remembrance and patriotism, but also as a day of service.
Throughout the country individuals continue to volunteer at food banks, schools, home-building projects, park cleanups and other charitable endeavors on and near the anniversary.
Since 2009, this work was formally acknowledged and supported with the establishment of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Organized by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNRS), a federal agency, the official page can be found here.
Visit 911day.org to find volunteer opportunities in your community.
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