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 375.

    @312 Bankers Screwed Our Country

    I don't know if you've noticed something going on in the Middle East this year, loosely called 'The Arab Spring'. It hasn't been a great year for mullas or despots. Millions of people in the Middle East have rejected despot and Islamic rule in favour of a secular society with choice and opportunity for all. Sounds quite American really, so who's winning? Not you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 374.

    6 Minutes ago
    God bless all who died, all who lost and all who are fighting to keep us safe.

    Just bless them, no fantasy god has to be involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 373.

    351.Don choa
    You remember 911 yet you don't remember the massacre of 8000+ muslims in bosnia. You remember 911 but you don't remember an estimated 2million palestinians killed since 1948

    Fact is, historically muslim governments didnt have to accept USA/other military/other aid & didnt have to oppress their peoples, but they CHOSE to & ALSO kept wealth for themselves.

  • Comment number 372.

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

  • Comment number 371.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 370.

    Today is reserved for reflecting on the 9/11 atrocity. But we must put this into context with all the other similar events in history and those we will suffer in the years to come. We must blame and silence the religious fanatics and others who instill hatred in the minds of their followers purely to satisfy their personal craving for power and monetary gain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 369.

    At church today we prayed for the victims of this terrible event but we also prayed for the victims of our barbaric so called war on terror where tens of thousands of innocent lives have been needlessly lost. America acts not in peace and justice (witness the millions of poor Americans) but in greed and vengence. Religious fundamentalism from wherever has NOTHING to do with God.

  • rate this

    Comment number 368.

    Wherever we live, I think that for today, we should think ourselves as New Yorkers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 367.

    14 Minutes ago
    #323 CryFreedomMachine-So you're in favour of free speech as long as it doesn't differ greatly from yours?

    There you go again, making non-factual assumptions.

    The comment you refer to was my free speech rejection of published comments by "Bankers Screwed Our Country" which their comment nature evidentially supports the attrocity of 9/11.

  • Comment number 366.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    God bless all who died, all who lost and all who are fighting to keep us safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    A sad day for many. I wonder if the emergency rescue workers will finally get some healthcare now? Maybe the politicians will actually help them for once rather than just posturing for the cameras - as they are currently doing. The fact that the many people who risked their lives to help others are now denied medical care for things like cancer sickens me far more than the attacks themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    "Shame on your ignorance, more Brits died on 9/11 than 7/7 & most muslims are factually killed by other muslims"
    Factually or actually? I'm not ignorant of the numbers of Brits killed on 11th September 2001 I am however ignorant of how you justify the rest of your statement. It is ingenuous to say the least, a botched invasion was the root cause and that was the USA and UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    It is right to stop and remember but it is also time to look forward and resolve the intractable Palestinian/Israeli impasse. It is also time to seek out the common ground. Ten years of decision and 130,000 deaths have brought us nowhere. Will Obama ever live up to his potential?


  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    Although I do sympathise with those who lost loved ones there are many such incidents through war and nelgect that many people die. This is America's tragedy but the bigger tradegy is that it sporned actrocities that have cost many many more lives. Let America grieve but lets try to stop the vile attacks on people less well publicised as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 360.

    Re:341 Yes... true... The attacks come from within... e.g Cancer. Stop any further intrusions, eradicate the bad cells. There is a lot of good in many people, but they are undermined and discriminated against because of an even worse amount of misdirected mental evil by their brethren, that is growing in the very veins of the unprotected. You can't grow a decent Lawn if it is infected by Weeds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 359.

    5 Minutes ago

    Is it disrespect? If you want to hear all the names, go there. I saw someone smiling right there at the memorial. oh the disrespect, how is he smiling at that. I also see people talking and taking pictures there whilst the names are being read and someone drinking a coffee....how disrespectful of them. Go and tell them they should not do or say anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.

    Before 9/11, there was no YouTube or Facebook; Twitter and mobile phone cameras didn't exist; Ten years after 9/11, the "authenticity" of citizen journalism is now an essential component in news reporting. How much “personalized” news contributed to, or simply reflected, the divisiveness of the past decade is debateable. What isn’t: citizen journalism will continue to attract news audiences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    7 Minutes ago
    #323 CryFreedomMachine-So you're in favour of free speech as long as it doesn't differ greatly from yours?

    Free speech is fine, my comment was my free speech opinion in condemning

    Bankers Screwed Our Country

    whos vile comments support the attrocity of 9/11, which you seem unhappy about my free speech entitlement to say what I feel/think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    332.Darren Shepperd
    What about those the terrorists American and British forces have killed since 9/11 i guess once again the bbc show their lack of any decency in ignoring the fact that they have murdered hundreds of time more 9in places like Afghanistan. But they dont count do they as we illegally murdered them
    Why dont you go to Afganistan if you are so aggrieved by it?


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