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 415.

    401. JeremiUS - It only 'changed our world forever' because the government said it did. Nothing changed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    404 Tiffany.....just because you and your countrymen prefer to continue to imagine an American life is worth more than any other life, that doesn't make my comment out of order. I happen to think ALL lives are equally important. Doesn't your vaunted Constitution say so? Saying is one thing, I guess, believing is another. Americans are so good at preaching what they don't practice.

  • Comment number 413.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    I do not support what happened but please US Administration stop pretending that you were not involved in illegal acts. Remember Central America? Africa, Asia... I wonder how many 100 thousands died in Iraq since the invasion. Nearly 10 years on - no signs of abating. When you take the lid off a pressure cooker, you need to have something to catch what come out. Basic common sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    I agree with Anthony, we should remember all those who have been killed and are still being killed for an uncalled for and planned agenda. Too many innocents are being killed for a needless atrocity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    I wish I could see an end to all attrocity, but even as we comment new victims are created around the world.

    I do not think as a species we will advance decency/fairness/justice/equality/prosperity until we have come to terms with necessity to implement sustainable population.

    Even if all the pie was shared out equally, fact is the pieces would just get smaller & not support anyone.

  • Comment number 409.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    402. Old Gal

    People that have died not from a quantifiable enemy are generally overlooked because they can't be used to justify military action.

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    382. Religious purpose is actually to bring a spiritual dimension to a human beings life. The idea that these are strict was debunked by our lord Jesus christ who came not to change the laws of moses but to fulfill them. Love, peace, mercy, justice, forgiveness and repentance are at the very human core of what Jesus was about. 'Love your neighbour as you would love yourself'

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    I don't believe 9/11 was an inside job. I wouldn't have any proof to back such an allegation anyway. I wouldn't out it past a US government however.

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    #401 JeremiUS-I think you're attaching too much importance to what,in relative terms,was a fairly minor event.However we should reflect on the futility of such atrocities and wars in general.Those who give the orders are not the ones to die,it's always the innocents,the likes of you and I.

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    402. Old Gal
    25,000 people die every day from polluted water......when are we going to begin commemorating their deaths?

    OK, that's out of order.

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    It's been ten years of blood libel for Muslims.
    Strange that although Holocaust scholars generally agree that the Holocaust could not have occurred without centuries of Christian anti semitism no one collectively demonises Christians. I don't think it requires a genius to work out why! And although I hate to say it , on this day, the Americans have killed a great many people themselves.

  • Comment number 402.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    Let's just remembered what happened on this day with out reflecting hate to one another. Those who died ultimately deserve to rest in peace. We won't forget this day and the way it changed our world forever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    Today of all days remember the thousands of innocent people who were killed.

    All of them victims of a carefully planned atrocity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    T BLAIR..
    I note how he's still trying to justify himself. Now he's more or less urging us to invade Iran - note, there are no threat coming from that country, and like Iraq, there's no evidence of their possessing nuclear weapons. So, why this hatred of Iran??

    Who exactly has turned this guy into a multi-millionaire? Must be the same guys who urged him to tell us lies and invade Iraq !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    16 Minutes ago
    RIP to all in afghan and iraq who have been killed by the americans

    RIP one sided ignorance & bias

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    @ 391. Perpetual Sigh:

    Chill out. You sound uncannily like those conspiracy theorists you are so fond of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    It is ingenuous to say the least, a botched invasion was the root cause and that was the USA and UK.


    You ignore the fact Saddam murdered thousands & was still doing so, you also ignore fact of Iran using Iraq to fight proxy war agains west & creating, advising, training & supplying the insurgency in Iraq & still does. USA did NOT force Iraqis to kill each other.


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