U.S. Pays Tribute To 9/11 Victims 15 Years After Attacks
Americans commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on Sunday with the recital of the names of the dead, tolling church bells and a tribute in lights at the site where New York City’s massive twin towers collapsed.
As classical music drifted across the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan, family members and first responders slowly read the names and delivered personal memories of the almost 3,000 victims killed in the worst attack on U.S. soil since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Tom Acquarviva lost his 29-year-old son Paul, who worked at financial services firm, Canter Fitzgerald on the 101st to 105th floors of the North Tower, just above where the first plane struck. Acquarviva was one of 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees killed in the attack.
“We miss him terribly. Terribly, terribly, terribly. Not a day goes by that we don’t remember him,” Acquarviva told Reuters. But he said he felt a sense of hope: “There are more people here today than there ever have been.”
The ceremony paused for six moments of silence: four to mark the exact times four hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon near Washington D.C., and a Pennsylvania field. The last two record when the North and South towers of the Trade Center crumpled.
It was held by two reflecting pools with waterfalls that now stand in the towers’ former footprints, and watched over by an honor guard of police and firefighters.
More than 340 firefighters and 60 police were killed on the that sunny Tuesday morning in 2001. Many of the first responders died while running up stairs in the hope of reaching victims trapped on the towers’ higher floors.
At the Pentagon, a trumpet played as U.S. President Barack Obama took part in a wreath-laying ceremony.