Americans across the nation are remembering the 9/11 terror attacks that occurred 11 years ago today. Victim’s families and others gathered this morning at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pa., to remember the terrorist attacks that devastated the nation over a decade ago. Today, many are recalling where they were the day tragedy struck America but most are remembering those who were taken that day.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, which has lead to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ultimately more deaths. U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, and the war continues today, marking the longest war in U.S. history.
In previous years, politicians including U.S. presidents, governors and New York City mayors have participated in the reading of the names, or participated in the commemoration in other ways. This year only the families of those who were killed at the World Trade Center will appear on the podium to read the names of those lost. Politicians may still attend, however, under event rules set in July by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, none may speak or participate in the reading of names.
In New York City, formal and informal remembrances to mark one its most tragic days in American history began early. An official commemoration began in New York this morning at 8:39 a.m. ET at the National September 11 Memorial plaza, the area that once held the twin towers but now hosts two memorial pools dedicated to the victims of the attack. There was a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. ET to mark when the first commercial plane struck the north tower. Family members of those who perished will recite names of all 2,983 victims from the twin towers and Pentagon attacks, and those on Flight 93, as well as those who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. There will be a moment of silence for each time a high jacked plane hits its target and one for when Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa, as well as moments of silence at the times that each of the twin towers fell.
Both presidential campaigns will suspend their largely negative TV advertisements from the air for the day out of respect for victims and their families. Obama will hold a moment of silence at the White House and attend a Pentagon memorial service; Romney will address the National Guard’s annual conference, and Vice President Joe Biden will attend a memorial service at Shanksville, Pa., where one of the four hijacked flights crashed.
President Obama is expected to be among the speakers Tuesday at an invitation-only remembrance for victims and family members of those killed at the Pentagon. The president will speak after an invocation and a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. ET, when American Airlines flight 77 hit the building 11 years ago.
In the face of the 9/11 tragedy, this day is also about the spirit of unity that manifested in the aftermath. Americans leaned on one another for understanding and support, proving that the best of humanity can overcome even the worst hate. Remembering 9/11 is not only about recalling the harsh memories of what the terrorists did that day. Remembering 9/11 today is also about helping others, making a difference, rekindling unity, and bringing out the very best in ourselves as individuals, and as a country.
We will never forget.