20 years after 9/11: “We don’t forget”

Status: 11.09.2021 9:34 p.m.

The memory of the attacks of September 11, 2001 remains formative for the USA – even 20 years later. In memory of the approximately 3,000 victims, relatives and politicians called on the nation for unity.

By Antje Passenheim, ARD-Studio New York

It is a celebration of reverberation and silence that begins with a stroke of the bell – at 8:46 a.m., the moment exactly 20 years ago the first passenger plane hit the World Trade Center. American Airlines Flight 11 en route from Boston to Los Angeles with 92 people on board.

Mark Low, the father of a flight attendant, starts with his words at the memorial service in New York:

For years we have spoken on behalf of our daughter so that more precautionary measures are taken. And also so that history is not only remembered with numbers and dates, but with the faces of completely normal people, with faces like that of my daughter Sarah.

Relatives read out names of the victims

Behind all the 3000 or so names of the victims there are stories that for most of them have not faded even 20 years after the attacks. Relatives read them out like every year. For hours. Under the same steel blue sky as then. When an airplane flies over the area, heads go up. And almost everyone thinks the same thing. Tears flow when singer Bruce Springsteen surprisingly comes on the podium in a black suit – with his song “I’ll see you in my dreams”.

Across the street in the fire station, firefighters with white gloves form a greeting. On that day, their colleagues marched out of the open gate behind them to save the lives of others. Hundreds did not come back then. A relative reads in a breaking voice: “My father, Daniel J. Brethel, of the New York Fire Department. We love you and miss you every day.”

Biden, Obama and Clinton attend

Many first aiders and airline employees have gathered around the granite-gray, rushing water basin where the foundations of the World Trade Center were once set. The powerful behind it seem almost irrelevant: President Joe Biden with his wife Jill, his predecessors Barack Obama with his wife Michelle and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In addition to the current one, several former presidents also attended the commemoration.

Image: AP

Biden then travels to the other two locations of the attacks, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, near the town of Shanksville. He doesn’t speak anywhere, but sent his message by video the day before:

We have learned that unity is the only thing that can never break. Unity makes us who we are. The best side of America.

Not only the Republican ex-President George W. Bush, who was in office on September 11, 2001, repeats this call. Relatives also have this wish – in order to commemorate the victims with dignity: “When we say: ‘We do not forget’, it is not just a phrase. It means that we should never forget the unity that we had after the attacks That’s what matters. “

Trump attacks Biden

Only one person uses the day of remembrance for attacks against his successor: Ex-President Donald Trump takes action against Biden, accusing the Democrat of “incompetence” in the Afghanistan withdrawal. Biden seemed like a “fool”. Trump only comes to the memorial event in his hometown when it is all over. Then he flies back to Florida – to comment on a boxing match.

The silent call for unity – New York commemorates the 9/11 victims

Antje Passenheim, ARD New York, 9/11/2021 8:53 p.m.

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