US marks 9/11 with somber tributes, new monument to victims

Associated Press | Published: 11th September 2018 06:52 PM
Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., participate in a sunset memorial service on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, as the nation marks the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (Photo | AP)

NEW YORK: Americans are commemorating 9/11 with somber tributes, volunteer projects and a new monument to victims, after a year when two attacks demonstrated the enduring threat of terrorism in the nation's biggest city.

Margie Miller was among the 9/11 victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and others who gathered on a misty Tuesday morning at the memorial plaza where the World Trade Center's twin towers once stood. She came to the site from her home in suburban Baldwin, as she does 10 or so times a year, to remember her husband, Joel Miller. Only a few fragments of his remains were recovered.

"To me, he is here. This is my holy place," said his widow.

(Photo | AFP)

The outpouring of emotion on the 9/11 anniversary includes a poignant message from New York's Finest.

A tweet on Tuesday by the New York Police Department's Midtown North Precinct talks about the day Americans' world changed "forever."

It urges: "Never miss a chance to let those held dearest know your love for them."

17 years ago, Americans went to bed with no thought the next day their world would change forever.

Hundreds packed flight bags they would not live to open. Thousands slept with loved ones for the last time.

Never miss a chance to let those held dearest know your for them pic.twitter.com/uz0qBxouSZ

— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) September 11, 2018
A woman drips water on a bouquet of flowers at the North Pool during a ceremony marking the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, in New York. (Photo | AP)

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence headed to the two other places where hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, in the deadliest terror attack on American soil.

The president and first lady Melania Trump planned to join an observance at the Sept. 11 memorial in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a new "Tower of Voices" was dedicated Saturday. Pence is attending a ceremony at the Pentagon. Trump, a Republican and native New Yorker, took the occasion of last year's anniversary to issue a stern warning to extremists that "America cannot be intimidated."

New York City firefighters salute in front of a memorial on the side of a firehouse adjacent to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site during ceremonies on the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (Photo | AP)

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on 9/11, when international terrorism hit home in a way it previously hadn't for many Americans. Sept. 11 still shapes American policy, politics and everyday experiences in places from airports to office buildings, even if it's less of a constant presence in the public consciousness after 17 years.

A stark reminder came not long after last year's anniversary: A truck mowed down people, killing eight, on a bike path within a few blocks of the World Trade Center on Halloween.

Watch the 17th anniversary of 9/11 commemoration ceremony live from the #911Memorial at: https://t.co/dHu4HHeW6d. #Honor911

— 9/11 Memorial (@Sept11Memorial) September 11, 2018

In December, a would-be suicide bomber set off a pipe bomb in a subway passageway near Times Square, authorities said. They said suspects in both attacks were inspired by the Islamic State extremist group.

The recent attacks in New York, as well as terror attacks elsewhere, were on Miller's mind as she arrived Tuesday.

"You don't want to live in fear, but it's very real," she said.

Debra Sinodinos, who lost her firefighter cousin Peter Carroll and works near the trade center, said she tries not to let the recent attacks unnerve her.

(Photo | AFP)

"You have to move on," she said as she headed into the anniversary ceremony with her extended family. "Otherwise, you'd live in fear."

The 9/11 commemorations are by now familiar rituals, centered on reading the names of the dead. But each year at ground zero, victims' relatives infuse the ceremony with personal messages of remembrance, concern and inspiration.

ALSO READ | Trump in Pennsylvania on 9/11 to honour Flight 93 heroes

Hours after the ceremony, two powerful light beams will soar into the night sky from lower Manhattan in the annual "Tribute in Light."

This year's anniversary comes as a heated midterm election cycle kicks into high gear. But there have long been some efforts to separate the solemn anniversary from politics.

Callie Cirulnick, 10, visits the Pepperdine University's annual display of flags honoring the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Malibu, Calif. (Photo | AP)

The group 9/11 Day, which promotes volunteering on an anniversary that was declared a national day of service in 2009, routinely asks candidates not to campaign or run political ads for the day. Organizers of the ground zero ceremony allow politicians to attend, but they've been barred since 2011 from reading names or delivering remarks.

Memorials to 9/11 continue to grow at Shanksville, where the Tower of Voices will eventually include a wind chime for each of the 40 people killed there, and ground zero, where work is to begin soon on a pathway honoring rescue and recovery workers.

Caption

It will serve as a way to honor those who became sick or died from exposure to toxins released when the Trade Center's twin towers collapsed. Researchers have documented elevated rates of respiratory ailments, post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses among people who spent time in the rubble.

About 38,500 people have applied to a compensation fund, and over $3.9 billion in claims have been approved.

Meanwhile, rebuilding continues. A subway station destroyed on 9/11 finally reopened Saturday. In June, doors opened at the 80-story 3 World Trade Center, one of several rebuilt office towers that have been constructed or planned at the site. A performing arts center is rising.

However, work was suspended in December on replacing a Greek Orthodox church crushed in the attacks; the project hit financial problems.

Tags : September 11 attacks September 11 9/11

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