Status: 11.09.2021 6:25 p.m.
The terrorist attacks were 20 years ago, but memories of them are still alive. Today the USA commemorates the victims with numerous events. President Biden plans to visit all the attack sites during the day.
In the United States, the day is marked to commemorate the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. There are funeral services across the country. The central memorial event in New York began at 8:46 am (local time) at “Ground Zero” with the national anthem and a minute’s silence. At exactly this time, 20 years ago, Islamist terrorists piloted the first of four hijacked aircraft into the north tower of the World Trade Center in south Manhattan. In total, almost 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.
USA commemorates the victims of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks
Heribert Roth, ARD New York, daily news 5:50 p.m., 9/11/2021
Read out names of victims
After the minute’s silence, relatives began reading out the names of all victims. The attacks should not be remembered with numbers or dates, but “normal people” should be thought of, said Mike Low, whose daughter Sara had worked as a flight attendant on one of the aircraft. “For the past 20 years, my family has experienced incredible suffering at the thought of lives that could no longer be lived.”
Low also recalled that people, especially rescue workers, “outgrown themselves” at that time. The reading of the names was interrupted by a second minute of silence – exactly at the time when a second plane had flown into the south tower on that September day 2001. Then the US musician Bruce Springsteen sang his song “I’ll See You In My Dreams”.
A total of six minutes of silence are planned – to commemorate the impact of two aircraft in the World Trade Center, the collapse of the two towers, the impact of another hijacked aircraft in the US Department of Defense at the gates of Washington and the crash of a fourth hijacked machine in Shanksville State of Pennsylvania.
Biden, Obama and Clinton attend
In addition to President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, numerous relatives of victims and survivors also attended the memorial service at the New York “Ground Zero” memorial. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were also present with their wives. Obama expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims and remembered the forces of the time and the US military. Biden’s speech was not planned for this event.
Parallel to the memorial service in New York, a funeral service began on Saturday morning at the Pentagon. The Bidens will visit all the 9/11 attack sites during the day: After the ceremony in New York, Biden will first travel to Shanksville and then visit the Pentagon.
Bush in Pennsylvania
George W. Bush, who was US President on September 11, attended the memorial service in Pennsylvania. It was a day of extremely mixed feelings, Bush said in a speech. There was horror “in view of the extent of the destruction” and “the boldness of evil”, while at the same time there was “gratitude” and “awe” because of the heroism of the forces, the military and the sudden solidarity and mutual help among Americans. “We were proud of our wounded country,” said Bush.
Message of unity
In the run-up to the memorial events, US President Biden called the country to unity in a video message on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. “That is the central lesson of 9/11 for me. When we are most vulnerable (…), unity is our greatest strength,” said Biden. This does not mean “that we all have to believe the same thing, but it is important that we respect and believe in one another,” said the Democratic President in the roughly six-minute message recorded in the White House.
20 years ago, members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network flown three hijacked aircraft into the towers of the World Trade Center and into the US Department of Defense outside the gates of the capital Washington. A fourth plane crashed in the state of Pennsylvania after passengers rebelled against the hijackers. The worst attacks in US history shook the world power badly, and the then Republican President Bush subsequently proclaimed the “war on terrorism”.
Numerous events across the country
In addition to the official memorial services, there are funeral services, cultural events and minutes of silence throughout the country in memory of the attacks and the thousands of deaths. For example, the musicians of the New York Metropolitan Opera want to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” in the evening to commemorate the dead.
In addition, numerous well-known buildings in the metropolis are to be illuminated in blue, including the Empire State Building. Where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood, two blue columns of light rise from the ground for a few nights.