On Tuesday, Americans mark the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, Voice of America reported.
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 17 years, AP/Time notes.
President Donald Trump will attend a ceremony at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, near where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after passengers retook control from the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists who had hijacked the plane.
Declaring September 11 as Patriot Day, Trump said the “evil acts” did not crush the country’s spirit or its commitment to freedom.
“We come together, today, to recall this timeless truth: When America is united, no force on Earth can break us apart. Our values endure; our people thrive; our nation prevails, and the memory of our loved ones never fades,” Trump stressed.
Just outside Washington, Vice President Mike Pence is attending a ceremony at the Pentagon for families of those killed when a hijacked plane crashed into the building.
In New York, hundreds of survivors and family members of those killed will gather at Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood before two hijacked commercial flights brought them down. Twin beams of light will be projected into the sky to memorialize those lost in the attacks.
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, concern and inspiration.
“What I can say today is that I don’t live my life in complacency. I stand in solidarity that this world will make a change for the better,” Debra Epps said last year as she remembered her brother, Christopher Epps.
The hijackings were carried out by 19 men affiliated with al-Qaida. The deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor in 1944, the events of September 11 permanently changed America’s perception of security and prompted then-President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorism and invade Afghanistan, VoA adds.