New York City and millions around the country are commemorating the September 11, 2001 attack by Al-Qaeda with mournful ceremonies, volunteering, appeals to “never forget” and rising attention to the terror attacks’ extended toll on responders.
A crowd of victims’ relatives descended on ground zero in Lower Manhattan Wednesday, while President Donald Trump is scheduled to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence is to speak at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The events of that terrible day and the weeks, months and years that followed are never forgotten, nor are the memories of those killed by terrorists in hijacked planes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Additionally, we remember all those who have died from 9/11-related illnesses from their heroic work at ground zero and those who suffer today.
The anniversary ceremonies center on remembering the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The victims’ names were read aloud at the ground zero ceremony, where moments of silence and tolling bells mark the moments when the aircraft crashed and the trade center’s twin towers fell.
September 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 18 years.
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, inspiration and concern.
“People say, ‘Why do you stand here, year after year?'” Chundera Epps, a sister of Sept. 11 victim Christopher Epps, said at last year’s ceremony at the World Trade Center. “Because soldiers are still dying for our freedom. First responders are still dying and being ill.”
“We can’t forget. Life won’t let us forget,” she added.
Beginning Wednesday, there will be a moment of silence at all public schools in New York state to mark the 9/11 anniversary, under a new bill signed into law.
Given that most students today were born after the attacks, the bill’s sponsors hope that by pausing to reflect, future generations will never forget
“I think it’s important for our state to do and the feedback has been very positive,” said New York State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr.
The Suerth family from San Diego took their daughters to the memorial Tuesday to teach them about 9/11.
“We wanted our daughters to experience the memorial so they can understand what happened on 9/11 and the impact on our country for future generations,” said Brian Suerth.