New York Remembers 9/11 Attacks, 18 Years On

 

New York honoured Wednesday the almost 3,000 people killed on September 11, 2001 in a solemn ceremony at Ground Zero where hijacked Al-Qaeda planes brought down the Twin Towers.

Relatives of victims, police officers, firefighters and city leaders gathered at the National September 11 Memorial to mark the 18th anniversary of the deadliest single attack on US soil.

They held poignant moments of silence at 8:46 am (1246 GMT) and 9:03 am, the precise times that the passenger jets struck the North and South Towers.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and his predecessors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani were among those who attended.

In what has become an annual tradition, relatives began reading out the long list of those who were killed, saying a few words about those who died, in a ceremony that takes almost four hours.

“We love you, we miss you and you will always be America’s heroes,” said one woman after reading out the names of her brother and cousin.

Relatives hugged and consoled each other and left roses at the memorial. Some held up placards with images of their loved ones who were killed.

Bagpipes played as police officers walked into the ceremony carrying the US flag before the US national anthem was played.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed victims’ families and survivors to the White House where they marked the anniversary with a moment of silence.

Trump was then scheduled to head to the Pentagon where he was due to speak.

Al-Qaeda hijacked a total of four planes. The third hit the Pentagon and the fourth, Flight 93, crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

In addition to those killed on September 11, thousands of first responders, construction workers and residents have since developed illness, many of them terminal, as a result of inhaling the toxic fumes.

Clinton Feels Much Better From Pneumonia Diagnosis

Hilary ClintonU.S. Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, says that her health is much better, a day after falling ill at a 9/11 commemoration.

Reports say she had kept her pneumonia diagnosis from most of her staff, but chose to tell only family and close aides.

In a telephone interview with the CNN, she said that she had not disclosed a recent diagnosis because she just did not think it was going to be that big a deal.

Mrs Clinton also confessed that she had ignored a doctor’s “wise” advice to rest for five days.

Her republican opponent, Donald Trump, noted that health had now become “an issue” in the campaign.

However, Mrs Clinton’s campaign team said they would be releasing new medical records to help ease concerns about her health.

On Monday, Mrs Clinton canceled a trip she was scheduled to take to California for fundraising and other campaign events.

Mrs Clinton fell ill at a September 11 memorial, an episode that renewed focus on her health less than two months before the election.

Reuters reported that Clinton, 68, was diagnosed on Friday but her condition only came to light several hours after a video on social media appeared to show her swaying and her knees buckling before being helped into a motorcade as she left the memorial early Sunday.

U.S. Pays Tribute To 9/11 Victims 15 Years After Attacks

september 11 victimsAmericans 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.

9/11 memorial, a plea to remember US troops at war

The US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta has warned Americans not to forget the troops who are fighting and dying in Afghanistan, as he paid tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

In a visit to the memorial in southwestern Pennsylvania honouring the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 that was hijacked on September 11, 2001, Mr Panetta said the fight against the Al-Qaeda militants behind the attacks was not over, and that soldiers were still in harm’s way.

“I pray that as we remember 9/11, and the terrible things that took place on 9/11, that we will also take the time to remind ourselves of the sacrifices that have been made by those who have fought and died in order to make sure that it not happen again,” he said.

“My concern is that too often we do not express our concern and our attention to those who are fighting and dying for this country. We’re continuing to lose good men and women in battle in Afghanistan,” he said.

He drew a connection between the passengers of Flight 93, who struggled with their hijackers and foiled an apparent attempt by Al-Qaeda to strike Washington, and US troops waging war against Taliban insurgents eleven years later in Afghanistan.

The US soldiers are “putting their lives on the line every day,” he said.

“That kind of sacrifice, that kind of commitment, that kind of dedication, that kind of courage is what makes this country strong.
“And we had damn well better remember that every day.”

Panetta’s impassioned plea to honor more than 2,000 American troops killed in Afghanistan and the roughly 77,000 forces deployed there.

The war in Afghanistan, launched after the 9/11 attacks over the Taliban’s alliance with Al-Qaeda, has steadily lost popular support but has generated no massive street protests or bitter debate similar to the one surrounding the Iraq conflict.

A growing majority of Americans oppose the US military presence there and support NATO’s plan to withdraw most combat forces by the end of 2014.

The conflict rarely makes front page news, despite a steady flow of casualties and a vast investment in manpower and money, with political debate focused on how to revive the country’s economy.

Panetta’s trip to the memorial is the first in a series of anniversary ceremonies marking the 9/11 attacks which will unfold on Tuesday.

Events are scheduled in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, and again in the rolling countryside in Pennsylvania at the crash site of Flight 93.

The Pentagon chief on Monday placed a wreath and bowed his head before marble slabs bearing the names of the 40 passengers and crew who died that day.

He then met with family members of the victims from the hijacked plane and walked to a boulder that marks the point where Flight 93 slammed into the ground in a ball of flame.

Eleven years ago, Flight 93 took off from Newark, New Jersey headed for San Francisco but was hijacked 46 minutes into the flight and ordered to turn towards Washington and its apparent target, the Capitol building.

From phone calls to loved ones on the ground, those on board learned that other airliners had been hijacked and used to attack the World Trade Center.

The passengers and crew voted to challenge the hijackers, and recordings from the plane captured the sounds of a struggle. The Boeing 757 crashed at full speed at 10:03 am, only 20 minutes flying time from Washington.