Americans Around The Nation Commemorate 9/11 10 Years Later
Commemoration ceremonies both small and large were held coast to coast as many Americans remembered a day that changed the country forever. The Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger summed it up in two sentences: "We do not need to tell you what happened 10 years ago today. You know."
The awareness was most visible in Lower Manhattan, where the first two attacks happened on 1 and 2 World Trade Center. Thousands of families, friends and New Yorkers gathered at ground zero for a day-long ceremony held by the city of New York. The New York Times appropriately the day as the "Day That Stands Alone."
From The New York Times:
In that panorama of resurrection, with the skyline in the background and the skirmishing harbor and the Statue of Liberty in the distance, the families choked back tears, sobbed and cast flowers into the spillways of sunken granite pools set in the footprints of the fallen towers, and crowded around the bronze parapets of the “voids” where the names of the dead are etched.
Amid the sounds of waterfalls, family members bent low to touch or kiss the names, and to weep. Many made paper tracings of the names, or inserted flowers or American flags into the crevices, and the parapets were soon thick with the colors and with red and yellow roses.
“It was real inspirational to come here after all these years and finally see his name,” Dennis Baxter, 65, of King of Prussia, Pa., said of his brother, Jasper, who died in the south tower. “I touched it. I didn’t know what else to do.”
Commemorative activities were also held at the Pentagon, where the third of four planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 killed 184 people when it crashed into one of the sides of the building.
President Obama laid a wreath at the site of the crash--one of 184 in total, one for each life lost on that day, 10 years ago.
From The Washington Post:
Standing before an enormous U.S. flag draped over the plane’s impact point on the Pentagon, Vice President Joe Biden told the gathering that the terrorists “never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans.”
“They never imagined,” he added, “the sleeping giant they were about to awaken.”
To the loved ones of those killed at the Pentagon, Biden said that “those who you lost, who we now call heroes, were already heroes. They were already heroes to you.”
Family members, friends and relatives of the Pentagon victims — there were also more than 100 survivors in attendance — listened intently, occasionally wiping away tears, as Biden, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, spoke of the dead and the heroes who sprinted to rescue strangers.
Earlier in the day, President Obama visited Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the site where the fourth plane crashed after passengers and crew fought back and prevented United Flight 93 from reaching its intended target.
Now at the site where the plane went down, construction has begun on a permanent memorial, which was dedicated Saturday by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Vice President Joe Biden.
From the Los Angeles Times:
In Pennsylvania the Obamas visited the Wall of Names, where each of 40 marble slabs is inscribed with the name of a victim of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.
The president and first lady placed a wreath of white flowers in front of the wall, bowing their heads in silence for a moment. When they walked to the crowd to shake hands, the mood shifted. Some broke out in a chant of “U-S-A!” One man yelled, “Thank you for getting Bin Laden!”
The Obamas spent roughly an hour at the site, having photos taken, shaking hands and talking with family members of victims.
The official death toll from the September 11 attacks is 2,996.