Tue | May 26, 2020

America marks 9/11 with sombre tributes

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A woman leaves flowers at the North Pool during a ceremony marking the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, yesterday.


Americans looked back on 9/11 yesterday with solemn ceremonies, volunteer service and a presidential tribute to "the moment when America fought back" on one of the hijacked planes used as weapons in the deadliest terror attack on US soil.

Thousands of 9/11 victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and others gathered on a misty Tuesday morning at the memorial plaza where the World Trade Center's twin towers once stood.

President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence headed to the two other places where hijacked planes crashed on September 11, 2001: a Pennsylvania field and the Pentagon.


New York City ceremony


Seventeen years after losing her husband, Margie Miller went to the New York City ceremony from her home in suburban Baldwin.

"To me, he is here. This is my holy place," she said before the hours-long reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 dead, including her husband, Joel Miller.

The president and First Lady Melania joined an observance at the September 11 memorial in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the jetliners fell to the ground after 40 passengers and crew members realised hijackers had taken control and tried to storm the cockpit.

Calling it "the moment when America fought back," Trump said the fallen "took control of their destiny and changed the course of history." They "joined the immortal ranks of American heroes," said Trump.

Pence recalled the heroism of service members and civilians who repeatedly went back into the Pentagon to rescue survivors.

The 9/11 commemorations are by now familiar rituals, centred 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.

For Nicholas Haros Jr, that concern is officials who make comparisons to 9/11 or invoke it for political purposes.

"Stop. Stop," pleaded Haros, who lost his 76-year-old mother, Frances. "Please stop using the bones and ashes of our loved ones as props in your political theatre. Their lives, sacrifices and deaths are worth so much more. Let's not trivialise them."