December 16, 2017
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obama, victims' relatives remember 9/11 attacks

US President Barack Obama (L), First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) stand for a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.
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Politicians, dignitaries and victims' relatives gathered in New York City, outside Washington and in rural Pennsylvania on Thursday to remember the nearly 3,000 people killed in al Qaeda's attack on the United States 13 years ago on September 11.

In what has become an annual ritual, relatives began slowly reciting the names of the victims at a ceremony in lower Manhattan, from Gordon Aamoth, Jr., to Igor Zukelman.

Readers would occasionally pause as a silver bell was rung to herald moments of silence marking the times when each of the four hijacked airliners used by al Qaeda's Islamist militants in the attacks crashed and the World Trade Center's twin towers fell.

President Barack Obama spoke at the Pentagon during a private ceremony for relatives of the people killed in the attack on the headquarters of the US Defense Department located just outside Washington in Arlington, Virginia.

The voice of Tom Monahan, a man with salt-and-pepper hair and broad shoulders, cracked when he talked about the brother and cousin who were killed in the attack.

"Everything is fine until you get here," he said before waving his hands as if to signal he could not talk anymore.

He headed through security checkpoints to join a crowd that stood beneath an overcast sky in the memorial plaza at the heart of the new World Trade Center. Some in attendance were dressed in military uniform, others in casual T-shirts and sneakers.

Many people held aloft posters with smiling photographs of their dead relatives. Red roses and American flags poked up from the bronze plates bearing victims' names that ring the two waterfalls that now trace the footprints of the fallen towers.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the mourners, as was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was joined by two of his predecessors, Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani.

Although the reconstruction has been plagued by delays, two of the new skyscrapers built around the site of the fallen twin towers are now open, while 1 World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, is due to open later this year.

While lower Manhattan may look and feel different this year, the external threat to the United States represented by the September 11 attacks remains. The United States and its allies see Islamic State, a group that began as an offshoot of al Qaeda, as an increasing danger.

On Wednesday, Obama said he had ordered an aerial bombing campaign targeting the group, which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and released videos of beheadings of two American journalists.

The only ceremony open to the public was at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the four hijacked airliners crashed.

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Tags:  September 11  9/11  anniversary  World Trade  New York  attacks  US  World  

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