NEW YORK – The 9/11 anniversary celebrations at Ground Zero began exactly 20 years after the start of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, with a bell ringing and a moment of silence.
President Joe Biden, former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton joined the crowd of relatives and first responders at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza in New York. The monument stands where the twin towers of the World Trade Center were shot down by hijacked planes.
Celebrations are also planned at two other locations where 9/11 conspirators shot down jets: the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Biden has a program of respect in all three places.
The anniversary is plagued by an epidemic and in the shadow of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, it is now ruled by the same militants who sheltered the 9/11 conspirators.
The attacks killed about 3,000 people and ushered in a new era of fear, war, politics, patriotism and tragedy.
“It’s difficult because you hoped it would be a different time and a different world. But sometimes history begins to repeat itself, not the best way to read the names of victims at a ceremony at Ground Zero in New York. ۔
In a video released Friday night, Biden mourned the loss of 9/11.
“Children grew up without parents, and parents suffer without children,” Biden said, a childhood friend of Davis Greer Cesna Jr., the father of the 9/11 victims.
But the president also highlighted what he called the “central lesson” of September 11: “On our weakest … unity is our greatest strength.”
Former President George W. Bush, the nation’s 9/11 leader, the Pennsylvania Monument, and his successor, Barack Obama, are at Ground Zero. Only the second US president since 9/11, Donald Trump, intends to stay in New York in addition to providing commentary on a boxing match in Florida, Syria.
Other celebrations – from the unveiling in Portland, Maine to the fire engine parade in Guam – are filled with 9/11 plaques, statues and memorial gardens across the country.
Using hijacked planes as missiles, the bombers carried out the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil, killing nearly 3,000, knocking down the Twin Towers and entering a period of terror.
Security was redefined with changes at airport checkpoints, police procedures and government oversight powers. In the years that followed, virtually any major explosion, accident or act of violence raises a frightening question: “Is this terrorism?” Some ideological violence and conspiracies followed, although federal officials and the public have become increasingly concerned after the recent 9/11 attacks on international terrorist groups with threats from domestic extremists.
New York initially faced questions about whether it could ever recover its financial center from the blow and restore a sense of security in crowded and skyscrapers. New York eventually rebuilt a more populous and prosperous city, but it had to account for the strategy of a powerful post-9/11 police department and the wide gap between Hughes and Knut.
A “war on terror” has led to attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the longest-running US war ended in a suicide bombing last month, which ended in a massive plane crash involving 169 Afghans and 13 Americans. Members of the service were killed and attributed to a branch. The Islamic State militant group, the United States, is now concerned that al-Qaeda, the terrorist network behind 9/11, could reorganize in Afghanistan.
Retired Army Colonel, after two decades of helping treat and treat wounded comrades at the Pentagon on September 11. Malcolm Bruce Westcott is depressed and frustrated by the continuing threat of terrorism.
“I’ve always felt that my race, my military team would take care of it – we wouldn’t hand it over to anyone else,” said Westcott, Greensboro, Georgia. “And we pushed it forward.”
For Angelique Tong, who was in the mall for a business meeting on 9/11 and fled under 77 flights of stairs, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has drawn sympathy for the troops serving there. Some are now wondering if their efforts and sacrifices made a difference, forcing Tung to think about a question he asked himself after escaping 9/11.
“I hope that, 20 years later, other people are asking the question: What good is that?” Tung, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, said.
The common grievance and the common cause increased on September 11, but it soon gave way.
Muslim Americans endured suspicion, surveillance and hate crimes. The quest to understand the destructive tools of terrorist attacks signaled changes in the design of the building and emergency communications, but it also fostered conspiracy theories that gave rise to a culture of suspicion. The balance between immigration, tolerance and vigilance, the meaning of patriotism, the proper way to honor the dead and the scope of the promise of “never forget” increased suspicion and resentment.
Trinidad was 10 years old when he heard his father Michael say goodbye on the phone from the burning shopping mall. She remembers the pain, but also the friendship of the days that followed, when all of New York “felt like it was a family.”
“Now that I feel the world is so divided, I want to go back to that,” said Trinidad, Orlando, Florida. “I think it would be a different world if we were able to stick to that feeling.”