9/11 anniversary: Sombre US honours victims 10 years on


The services for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks were a day for America to pause and reflect

America has paused on a day of deep emotion to honour the victims of the 9/11 attacks, 10 years after the event.

Nearly 3,000 people died when four hijacked airliners were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

A minute's silence marked each moment that a plane struck, or one of the WTC's twin towers fell.

President Barack Obama visited each of the three memorials to victims of the al-Qaeda attacks.

Security was tight following warnings of a possible new attack by al-Qaeda.

'Lives cut short'

The first plane hit the WTC's North Tower at 08:46 (13:46 GMT), the second at 09:03.

The third attack, on the Pentagon, occurred at 09:37 and it was at 10:03 that the fourth jet crashed in Pennsylvania.

Speaking to the crowd at Ground Zero, the president quoted the Bible: "Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a "perfect blue sky morning" had turned into "the blackest of nights" on 9/11.

"They were our neighbours, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents," he said of the victims.

"They each had a face, a story, a life cut short from under them."


These ceremonies around America are no perfunctory moments of remembrance of an event that has faded in the popular imagination. These day-long events are designed to recall the horror and loss of that day, to play on the heart strings of a nation that cannot forget.

Around New York and Washington there is a very obvious reminder of the way the country has changed, a police presence that must be unprecedented, closing down lower Manhattan to traffic for a day - the reaction to what authorities say is a very real threat from al-Qaeda.

The American homeland has not been attacked again since 9/11, the sense of possibility, of vulnerability, the overwhelming need for security has not gone away. But some things have changed.

Today may have evoked memories of a righteous patriotic fervour to deal with those who threaten the country and that desire does still exist but the enthusiasm to reshape the destiny of other countries to make Americans safer has largely disappeared.

All of the victims' names were read out amid tears, the five-hour reading punctuated by the solemn silences, and music.

Bagpipers opened the gathering, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus sang the national anthem, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed, and Paul Simon played his classic song The Sounds Of Silence.

Mourners streamed into the newly opened memorial, which has two reflecting pools, each almost an acre in size, in the footprints of the twin towers.

They placed pictures and flowers beside names etched in bronze. Grown men and women sobbed in grief over the inscriptions.

Behind the memorial could be seen the gleaming bulk of One World Trade Center, now three-quarters completed.

Mr Obama and his wife, Michelle, attended ceremonies in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

At Ground Zero he joined his predecessor, George W Bush, to visit the memorial. With bowed heads, they touched inscriptions.

From New York, the Obamas travelled to the field on Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the fourth plane was forced down by passengers who fought back.

The couple laid a wreath of white flowers at a new marble memorial to the 40 passengers and crew of the lost plane, before moving on to the Pentagon, outside Washington DC, where another wreath was laid.

In New York, metal barriers were erected on roads near Ground Zero, while police in New York and Washington are stopping and searching large vehicles entering bridges and tunnels.

The CIA received a warning last week that al-Qaeda might have sent attackers, some of them possibly US citizens, to bomb one of the cities.

The warning was described by officials as "credible but unconfirmed".

'New generation of patriots'

In an earlier speech at the Pentagon, Vice-President Joe Biden praised the US soldiers who had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May of this year.

9/11 DEAD


  • World Trade Center: 2,605
  • Flight American 11: 87
  • Flight United 175: 60


  • Building: 125
  • Flight American 77: 59


  • Flight United 93: 40


A "new generation of patriots" were galvanised by 9/11, he told a military audience.

"We will not stop - you will not stop - until al-Qaeda is disrupted, dismantled and, ultimately, defeated."

Sunday's ceremonies began at the US embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where the flag was lowered to half-mast to remember those who died 10 years ago, as well as those who have died since. A piece of the twin towers is buried underneath the flag pole.

US forces were sent to Afghanistan to oust the Taliban from power after they had given sanctuary to al-Qaeda.

Overnight, insurgents attacked US bases in Bagram and Wardak, injuring about 80 US troops and killing two Afghan civilians, officials say.

More than 6,200 members of the US military have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    I look forward to the day when the 1 million dead Iraquis have a monument and special day and ceremony in their memory. Flying planes into buildings is a terrible thing but American vengance seems to kill more. Angry christians and angry muslims = destruction everywhere. Religious extremes are really very tiresome and rather stupid often fueled by even stupider leaders, republicans and hamas??

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    Today, is the rememberence of one day of horrific significance.

    Human history is littered with such days of inhumane massacre, most are long forgotten, replaced with new days & ways of attrocity, by individuals, groups, tribes, religions, governments & nations.

    In over 2000 years, religions have not changed this reality, but been an integral part.

    Are fantasy beliefs worth the carnage!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    People, STOP arguing. Commemorate Them, commemorate Their Courage and Their Unshaken Spirit. It should be simple to know how to behave at September, 11.

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    82 Krokodil Today is just another day when the US with conivance of the UK government, the French Government and NATO are doing what they are good at, regime change for Oil. Next week Syria? then Iran. What a bunch of hypocrits we are pretending that we are bringing democracy to the world. To the poor democracy = theft of resources.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    @dphiz, Besides the fact that your source is obscure and not credible, nowhere in that source was it concluded that the majority of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are the direct result of US actions. Even if your claim was true, it's still unfortunate that you so willingly dismiss the atrocities routinely conducted by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban because of your anti-American bias.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    We certainly WILL remember them... whether or not we want to. But 10 years on, the initial effect and now those memories, have yet to yield any effective or noticeably positive action. It is rather akin to Cancer Research. Inadequate funding, but with or without, seemingly headed toward the lamentable and predictable results. There MUST be a better way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    I remember travelling home from school, aged 8 with my Nanny at the time, with her trying to explain what had happened to me. My blind innocence and the inability to comprehend the events that had happened 2 hours earlier still haunts me to this day. Nothing justifies an attack on that scale, and it will be forever entrenched in our memories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    A day for sombre reflection. Not one for canting zealotry or ranting self-justification - of whatever stripe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    I am a little confused...what is this an aniversary of? Seriously. I mean with all the screwups with government and law enforcement stories, no black boxes, explosions that shouldnt have been there, detonation materials found. Are we having an anniversary of the people dying pointlessly or an anniversary of so many murdered so america could start a big war over oil?

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    How sad that there is so much ignorance and hatred.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    Terrorists love their description. They are over-rated cowards who only seek power by use of violence as they are too inept/insane/detatched from reality in their ancient religious text.

    Extremists, in the name of religion, is a growing problem globally. Not least those who flew those planes on 9/11.

    What we must remember is extremists/terrorists leaders never sacrifice their own children!

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    184. powermeerkat
    Just for once I do wish you would leave your pathetic militarist anti Muslim beliefs to one side. Let people mourn if they wish and leave out the jingoistic stuff please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    @Beautifulblackcat, It's not about which atrocity is worse and by whom it was committed. The fact that the US has only been attacked once before is precisely why this day is so poignant in the US, not because Americans believe that 9/11 is the worst event that has ever occurred in the history of the world.

  • Comment number 202.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    It may be just me but I feel an intense annoyance at British people using the 9/11 term as we put the day before the month.
    The BBC should know better and use the correct grammar.
    Either that or refer to the event as the twin towers or WTC atrocity..

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them".

    By Laurence Binyon in Sept 1914 for England's fallen, now quote by American general 97 years later.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    Yes.. it IS time to move on... but that would require 100% involvement and agreement from every race, colour, and especially Creed. I have a not-so-cynical inkling that it's not going to happen. It was said that Money was the root of all evil, but we have a few other Contestants these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    I certainly don't understand why the Western countries pay so much attention to this particular day that too for something happened in USA!!!! Don't they realise how many they have killed in Iraw, Afghan and pakistan in the name of terrorism. Shame on you.

    Shame on your ignorance, more Brits died on 9/11 than 7/7 & most muslims are factually killed by other muslims

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    3000 humans may have died.. but as a consequence the US army has killed many more humans. We live in a corrupt world full of dodgy media and cultural bias.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    As a Brit who lost a friend in the twin towers I still feel that Americans make too much of this. It's happened and a lot of bad things have happened as a result of it, it's time to move on.


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