Sixteen years ago, the world stood in horror as New York’s World Trade Center Twin Towers came crumbling down after two hijacked planes smashed into the buildings, killing thousands of people, making it the deadliest terror attack ever in America. 

Today, relatives of the 9/11 victim gather together at The National September 11 Memorial Plaza to remember their loved ones. Many hold photos of their beloved as they call out their loved ones’ names at the anniversary to commemorate 9/11.  The commemoration has now become a custom in America. 

At least 1,000 members, rescuers, survivors, and officials gather at the ceremony every year. The ceremony at the World Trade Center begins with a moment of silence. As tolling bells ring, relatives read out the names of the 3,000 victims from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the flights that were hijacked. Later on, two bright and powerful light beams where the towers once stood, shines throughout the night in New York. 

Each ceremony is always different from the last but this year is solely focused on reading the names etched in the memorials dedicated to victims.  Survivors and families of the victims give updates on their lives. Some have married, re-married, given birth, graduated, gotten news jobs, while for some, life hasn’t changed at all since Sept. 11, 2001.

President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, attended the ceremony for the first time as President.  “America cannot be intimidated…No force on earth can break us apart,” Mr. Trump said as a warning to Islamic extremists. 

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence attended the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Mr. Pence, who was a member of Congress at the time of the attack, felt that the Flight 93 passengers who revolted against hijackers might have saved his life. 

The Capitol, where Pence was at the moment of the attack, was the possible target of the hijacked Flight 93. The plane crashed in a field near Shanksville after the passengers fought to take back control of the plane. All 33 passengers and seven crew members were killed. 

The National September 11 Memorial Plaza strives to make the ceremony more about the victims and less about politics. Since 2011, politicians are no longer allowed to read victims’ names or deliver remarks. They can only attend.

The National September 11 Memorial Plaza

 

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