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 495.


    If you do recall, it was the Japanese that started that attacked the US in that war. And they also attacked civies.

    >>> Do all the Muslim civilians killed in American attacks before 911 count for nothing in determining the start of this war?

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    Before 9/11 Al Qaida was small group of terrorists, hoping to draw the west into large scale conflict with the muslim world.

    Due to idiocy of the knee-jerk Bush administration they succeeded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    #484 mowenlloyd-Oh,that makes it ok then,what a stupid argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    I was shocked to hear John Sopel interview someone and ask who's fault it was that 9/11 happened at all. Today is a day for rememberance, not sensational journalism. You got it wrong, John!

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    The day when the world changed. Like it or hate it, things are now different. And while 3000 died on that day, hundreds of thousands died before and after as a result of war in which the US was directly or indirectly involved. Yet we have learned nothing so far. How many more must die so we can stop the killing? War is an indispensable part of human nature.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war.

  • Comment number 490.

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

  • Comment number 489.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    It's terrible that everyone is at war with one another so much, I can't imagine what a day of peace would be like! I wish the world could be peaceful for one day! I hope the families who lost someone in 9/11 find comfort & happiness from someone. We should all spare a thought every so often for those who died on the terrible day & hope that it never happens again, may the heroes rest in peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    Father Time. We Brits are terribly correct, I know, for I am a stalwart. Thankfully, there will be no argument this year when the clock shows 11/11/11/11 - read it as you will. Weep for those who'll remember that day - as we always do - (if you know what it signifies) but spare a thought for the poor Sods who were victims of the atrocity being recalled today... the 11th day of September.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    Already some aspects of media are criticisng the USA for reacting against the horror, (created as we know by militant muslims).
    Whilst we at services across the world, hold prayers for the victims. and attempt to share solidarity and forgiveness, where are the Muslim Leaders repudiating what THEIR followers did?? Silence is the answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    Civilian Deaths on September 11th 2001 : 2,977
    Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan: 8,813
    Civilan Deaths in Iraq : 1,455,590
    Civilians Deaths in Pakistan: 9620
    International Forces killed in Afghanistan: 2,710
    International Forces killed in Iraq : 6,962
    Pakistani forces killed : 3443
    Total Cost of Iraq and Afghan War : $1,247,603,518,251

    Remembering the past decade, not just 9/11

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    Very sad to see so many mourning loved ones who simply disappeared on that awful day in New York. Does anybody read out the name of the victims of Manchester, Omagh, Londonderry, Harrods, Hyde Park, Regents Park. The little boy blown to pieces in the Arndale centre. The people of the US, and particularly New York and the New York Fire Department sent funds to the perpetrators of those atrocities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    600,000 people died in Iraq, 3,000 in NY.

    I hope today we can remember all.

    And really REMEMBER.

    Because just saying you remember doesn't mean anything. There have been too many wars.

    Saying you remember and then building bigger bombs doesn't mean anything.

    Saying you remember and dividing 'evil people' from 'good people' doesn't mean anything. We are all the same.

    Let us be peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    Is America the only place to mix up their days and months? It isnt Nine Eleven, it is Eleven Nine. But it is not said that way, it is spoken as The Eleventh of September. Regardless of everything now associated with that date I cringe just to hear it spoken of as Nine Eleven.


    The moderators will not allow me to respond to you in the way that you truly deserve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    As an American, I do agree with many of the views on the comments. "Why do those Yanks cry because of this? We've been bombed multiple times and have had even worse casualties." seems to be the general gist i'm getting - to which I completely agree. Maybe it's because we never saw it coming. Maybe it's because it was a government set up. Who knows? God bless the victim's & their families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    All things aside, isn't it a complete shame and waste that we as a planet, cannot just 'get on' with each other. We are but a miniscule species, on a small rocky planet, orbiting a medium-sized star in one solar system, of millions in our galaxy alone...it really is depressing that events like the 11th September attacks happen.

    However, today should be a day of rememberance and nothing else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    During the coverage of this terrible incident, surely reporting should revolve around the significance of the day. We do not need reporters talking to each other over the channel about where they were and what they were doing and recalling there experiences, please report the news and not little chats between reporters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    Sorry... message 470 was not meant for publication... I was hoping for a private response... so it tells you a few things about who is / isn't watching eh ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    450. I rather think you misunderstand. For sure there are the usual ignorant anti-american rants but many others like myself who actually love America and Israel and find terrorism evil, believe you cannot take the moral high ground when YOU yourself pursue an agenda of greed, imperialism and war. Did not God give us a World with enough for us all? Greed is evil as is terrorism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.

    Why do we do it?
    Every time Auntie invites us to address the World's problems in 400 characters, we respond - with comments that are banal (time to build peace) or hate-filled (blame the USA, religion, bankers, politicians) or ill-informed or just plain barmy.
    But what else does she expect - a solution?
    I have 79 characters left, which I will use to write a poem:
    When I consider the st


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