America remembers September 11
New York (AFP):
America yesterday commemorated the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with emotional services of remembrance in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania to honour those who perished in the world’s deadliest terror strikes.
On September 11, 2001, nineteen AlQaeda operatives crashed four passenger jets into the Twin Towers in Manhattan, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people and changing the world forever.
This year’s anniversary comes with the United States locked in a bruising White House election battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who both attended the New York service, although Clinton left early after feeling unwell.
But she later emerged from her daughter’s apartment, telling reporters and onlookers that she felt better.
Even 15 years later, the long shadow cast by the attacks lives on in wars being fought today in Iraq and Afghanistan, and conflict tearing apart countries from Libya to Syria, allowing Al-Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State (IS) terror group to breed and prosper.
President Barack Obama said no words or deeds could ever erase the pain of loss but urged Americans to stand true to the nation’s ideals and not allow groups like Al-Qaeda and IS to divide the country.
“It is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation,” he told a remembrance service at the Pentagon.
“Our diversity, our patchwork heritage is not a weakness. It is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths.”
In New York, relatives fought back tears, clasped each other, and bowed their heads at the September 11 Memorial at the site of the destroyed World Trade Center, which was closed to the general public.
The emotional service – in the shadow of the newly built Freedom Tower – observed six moments of silence to honour the four attacks and the moments each of the Twin Towers collapsed.
Each year, family members spend hours reading out the names of all the dead at the memorial, an increasing number of them young adults who never or barely knew lost parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents.
The US government says the country is now better protected against a 9/11-style terror attack, but the new threat is the lone-wolf assailant. The United States, but more increasingly Europe, has been hit by such attacks, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the 2015 San Bernardino killings in California.