NEW YORK -- Victims' families and others gathered
Tuesday at ground zero, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa., to
remember the terrorist attacks that devastated the nation 11 years ago.
MORE: Victims' families worry 9/11 will fade
In New York City, formal and informal remembrances to mark one its most tragic days began early.
is extremely important that people never forget what happened on Sept.
11," says New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, who is
attending many events to commemorate those who lost their lives that
MORE: World Trade Center complex rises in fits and starts
Security was tight around the World
Financial Center. Police officers in crisp blue uniforms stood among men
in suits with badges attached to their belt buckles. Police cars with
flashing lights parked just off the West Side Highway near the World
Trade Center site. A giant flag on the Freedom Tower unfurled early as
cops stood near watching.
Family members held
pictures of their loved ones as bagpipers played. One man held high a
sign that had the name Danielle Kousoulis with pictures of the young
woman attached and said "We miss you" and "We love you."
lost 11 that day. Everyone who was working," says Ladder 35 Captain
John Miles, who was with other firefighters early Tuesday morning
setting up their annual breakfast for active and retired members as well
as family members of those who died.
He says that even as the years pass most of the families still come.
"It's good for us that they (the family members) are here and it's good for them that we are here," he says.
official commemoration will begin in New York Tuesday morning at 8:39
a.m. ET at the National September 11 Memorial plaza, an area that once
held the twin towers but now hosts two memorial pools dedicated to the
There was a moment of silence
at 8:46 a.m. ET to mark when the first commercial plane struck the north
tower. Houses of worship across New York City rang their bells in
Throughout the morning family
members of those who perished will recite the victims' names. The names
of all 2,983 victims from the twin towers and Pentagon attacks, and
those on Flight 93, as well as those who died in the 1993 World Trade
Center bombing will be read aloud.
be a moment of silence for each time a highjacked plane hits its target
and one for when Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. There will also
be moments of silence at the times that each of the twin towers fell.
Obama is expected to be among the speakers Tuesday at an
invitation-only remembrance for victims and family members of those
killed at the Pentagon.
The president will
speak after an invocation and a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. ET, when
American Airlines flight 77 hit the building 11 years ago.
Obama and Mitt Romney will temporarily pull their largely negative campaign commercials off TV on Tuesday.
ceremony will be held across from the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial,
where 184 metal benches memorialize the 59 crew and passengers and 125
people who were killed.
The event will be
modest and will include a wreath laying, and additional remarks by
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, says Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a
spokesman for the Defense Department.
ceremony will be similar to ceremonies in past years, though now there's
a new project to look forward to, says Jerry Mullins, spokesman for the
Pentagon Memorial Fund, which raised money and developed the memorial.
fund is preparing for a visitor education center that organizers hope
to complete by early 2015, Mullins says. Fundraising has already begun.
families are very proud of the memorial," Mullins says. "The
recognition, and the pledge that was made 11 years ago -- "Never forget"
-- is a great comfort to the families."
Shanksville, Pa., Vice President Joe Biden will speak during remembrance
ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial, where a hijacked plane crashed
during the 2001 attacks.
Of the four planes that terrorists hijacked, Flight 93 was the only one that did not hit its target.
United Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked.
9/11 Commission said the terrorists likely wanted to crash the plane in
Washington, D.C., targeting the White House or the U.S. Capitol, but
passengers and crew fought back.
Instead of hitting a national landmark, the plane went down in a western Pennsylvania field killing everyone on board.
National Park Service says that the service, which begins at 9:45 a.m.
ET, will include a reading of the 40 names of the Flight 93 passengers
and crew, a ringing of the Bells of Remembrance and a wreathing laying.
time was chosen to honor the passengers and crew of the flight and
commemorate the time period during which they took action to gain
control of the flight.
Musical tributes, wreath laying, and additional activities will continue through the afternoon.
expected to speak at the Sept. 11 event include Interior Secretary Ken
Salazar and Patrick White, president of Families of Flight 93.
On Monday, Panetta visited the Flight 93 Memorial and called it "the final resting place of American patriots."
There were remembrance programs hosted at the Flight 93 Memorial over the weekend.
on Saturday examined how children experienced 9/11 and featured
journalists who created the first records from the crash site.
On Sunday, members of the FBI spoke about their work at the site.
Shanksville post office near the site Flight 93 memorial is again
offering a special commemorative stamp cancellation. The postmark from
the Shanksville post office will include the image of the Flight 93
The Shanksville post office gets a few thousand requests for the special cancellation each year.
In New York on Tuesday there was a sense that it was a season of change and moving forward for the ground zero ceremony.
followed a last-minute breakthrough on a financial dispute that had
halted progress on the Sept. 11 museum, and the commemoration itself was
to be different: For the first time, elected officials won't speak at
an occasion that has allowed them a solemn turn in the spotlight, but
also has been lined with questions about separating the Sept. 11 that is
about personal loss from the 9/11 that reverberates through public
For former New York Gov. George Pataki,
this year's change ends a 10-year experience that was deeply personal,
even as it reflected his political role. He was governor at the time of
"As the names are read out, I
just listen and have great memories of people who I knew very well who
were on that list of names. It was very emotional," Pataki reflected by
phone last week. Among his friends who were killed was Neil Levin, the
executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
But Pataki supports the decision not to have government figures speak.
"It's time to take the next step, which is simply to continue to pay tribute," Pataki said.
National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum - led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg
as its board chairman - announced in July that this year's ceremony
would include only relatives reading victims' names.
point, memorial President Joe Daniels said, was "honoring the victims
and their families in a way free of politics" in an election year.
victims' relatives and commentators praised the decision. "It is time"
to extricate Sept. 11 from politics, the Boston Globe wrote in an
But others said keeping politicians off the rostrum smacked of ... politics.
move came amid friction between the memorial foundation and the
governors of New York and New Jersey over financing for the museum -
friction that abruptly subsided Monday, when Bloomberg and New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement that paves the way for finishing
the $700 million project "as soon as practicable."
the deal, Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a
Republican, had signaled their displeasure by calling on federal
officials to give the memorial a financial and technical hand. Some
victims' relatives saw the no-politicians anniversary ceremony as
"Banning the governors of New
York and New Jersey from speaking is the ultimate political decision,"
said one relatives' group, led by retired Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches.
His firefighter son and namesake was killed responding to the burning
World Trade Center.
Spokesmen for Christie and Cuomo said the governors were fine with the memorial organizers' decision.
Of course, it's difficult to remember 9/11 without remembering its impact on the nation's political narrative.
all, "9/11 has defined politics in America" since 2001, said Costas
Panagopoulos, a Fordham University political science professor. "At the
end of the day, 9/11 was a public tragedy that affected the nation as a