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 515.

    The two crucial aspects of 9/11 concern firstly those directly affected by the terrible loss of innocent lives and secondly the rest of the world communities who witnessed such an attrocity in real time on T.V. We can only imagine what the first group go through to this day and for the rest it reminds us vividly what can happen when we begin to take security, freedom and democracy for granted

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    I see that my comment #495 has a -2 score. Clearly at least 2 people really do think that dead Muslim civilians can just be ignored as unworthy of recognition. With such a mindset it is no wonder that America is stuck in an unwinnable war on Islam.

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    So proud that Americans have risen from the ashes and continued with there daily lives against one of the most heinous acts of all time. Britain will always stand together with America.

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.

    Lots of Nations have "links" to others for strategic reasons... be they economic or Military. Yes... yes... OIL is top of the list. If you turn that upside down then we might expect another atrocity on 710 or incorrectly but correctly displayed...10/7 in the UK, because we LIKE seem to LIKE adopt LIKE every LIKE Americanism LIKE going... which we don't LIKE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    468. angry_of_garston
    Godwins Law prevails.
    Godwin's law is not really a law. I call a spade a spade and a Nazi a Nazi and bring up Hitler and what he stands for whenever I like and feel it's appropriate. Sue me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    Ever get the feeling you've been lied to??????

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    9/11 (or some of it) probably would not have occurred if there had been some form of airport security in place that day. The US relied on it's satellites spinning around the earth and it's nuclear subs prowling the oceans depths to protect them. The thought that a few people armed with WalMart weapons could bring down their tallest buildings was not on their radar. They paid the price for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    @501 'Mike Logan'. Just when we thought you couldn't be more unpleasant on this day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    Dear Fahima... tell us all... what happened in Palestine on the 24th.of July ? and for clarity... which year ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    ok...muslims arent terrorists and the terrorists arent muslim, its haram in islam to kill inocent people, but dont forget the terrorists in israel who kill children and women like ants, i feel sorry for all the 9/11 victims but who feels sorry for the forever Gaza victims, let us live in an equal world where everyone punished for the crimes and friends (usa and issrael) dont let each other of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    It took me some time to come to terms with the grief I felt from Lady Diana's death, so I feel that I really understand what these Americans are going through.

    I hope that they get over it soon.

  • Comment number 504.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    What happened on the ninth of November and why should we sympathise on the eleventh of September?

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    11 September is my husband's birthday. I refuse to allow a bunch of criminals to obstruct our family celebrations.

    'Terrorists' they may call themselves, criminals they are, and they shall not ever get in the way of the lives of decent ordinary people. This is how I remember: with defiance and distain.

    God rest those they murdered, and comfort those who mourn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    Dear Katieweezer... I didn't say it WAS a conspiracy. It's difficult to stick a finger up the nose and mock the afflicted in a textual message :-) But in all honesty... it is an uncanny COINCIDENCE... don't you agree ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.

    Dear America Your 9/11
    Is Our 24/7
    Sincerely From Palestine/

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    Today is not a day for rights and wrong.
    It's not a day for politics.
    It's not even about one country.
    Today is a personal day.
    A day to remember those innocent people who died, or show support for the families of those left behind.
    People with even a shred of decency and humanity, would leave it there.
    Anything else is for another day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    "As I recall... 911 is the number you dial on a U.S. phone in the event of Emergencies. Coincidence or Conspiracy ?"-139

    Of all the conspiracy theories this has to be the stupidest!

    The first tower was his at 8.46 which is often when I get to work, work is where I get paid, the queen is on money, she is married to.......OMG it was Prince Phillip and the Illuminati!

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    As many have said in USA over recent days on reports on BBC & other news, UK 7 elsewhere, 9/11 is not just about rememberence, but about reflection on our world & what we can do to create a better world for all & how we can progress together unified in common cause.

    With growing unsustainable populations & growing fears & hardship, we need solutions fast before events overwhelm human existance

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    It would be wonderful to one day have world peace, but until then, we should remember all those who have lost their lives everywhere for decades due to needless war and violence. Not only remembering them on 9/11, but everyday.


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