Americans are remembering 9/11 with moments of silence, readings of victims’ names, volunteer work and other tributes 21 years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
Victims’ relatives and dignitaries will convene Sunday at the places where hijacked jets crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 — the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
Other communities around the country are marking the day with candlelight vigils, interfaith services and other commemorations. Some Americans are joining in volunteer projects on a day that is federally recognized as both Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
The observances follow a fraught milestone anniversary last year. It came weeks after the chaotic and humbling end of the Afghanistan war that the U.S. launched in response to the attacks.
But if this Sept. 11 may be less of an inflection point, it remains a point for reflection on the attack that killed nearly 3,000 people, spurred a U.S. “war on terror” worldwide and reconfigured national security policy.
It also stirred — for a time — a sense of national pride and unity for many, while subjecting Muslim Americans to years of suspicion and bigotry and engendering debate over the balance between safety and civil liberties. In ways both subtle and plain, the aftermath of 9/11 ripples through American politics and public life to this day.
And the attacks have cast a long shadow into the personal lives of thousands of people who survived, responded or lost loved ones, friends and colleagues.
More than 70 of Sekou Siby’s co-workers perished at Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the trade center’s north tower. Siby had been scheduled to work that morning until another cook asked him to switch shifts.
Siby never took a restaurant job again; it would have brought back too many memories. The Ivorian immigrant wrestled with how to comprehend such horror in a country where he’d come looking for a better life.
He found it difficult to form the type of close, family-like friendships he and his Windows on the World co-workers had shared. It was too painful, he had learned, to become attached to people when “you have no control over what’s going to happen to them next.”
“Every 9/11 is a reminder of what I lost that I can never recover,” says Siby, who is now president and CEO of ROC United. The restaurant workers’ advocacy group evolved from a relief center for Windows on the World workers who lost their jobs when the twin towers fell.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden plans to speak and lay a wreath at the Pentagon, while First Lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes went down after passengers and crew members tried to storm the cockpit as the hijackers headed for Washington. Al-Qaida conspirators had seized control of the jets to use them as passenger-filled missiles.
Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff are due at the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York, but by tradition, no political figures speak at the ground zero ceremony. It centers instead on victims’ relatives reading aloud the names of the dead.
Readers often add personal remarks that form an alloy of American sentiments about Sept. 11 — grief, anger, toughness, appreciation for first responders and the military, appeals to patriotism, hopes for peace, occasional political barbs, and a poignant accounting of the graduations, weddings, births and daily lives that victims have missed.
Some relatives also lament that a nation which came together — to some extent — after the attacks has since splintered apart. So much so that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which were reshaped to focus on international terrorism after 9/11, now see the threat of domestic violent extremism as equally urgent.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
September 11, 2022 at 8:17 am
Let us also take the time to mourn the passing of everyone’s fourth amendment rights thanks to George W Bush’s Patriot Act. Just another drop in the bucket of rights Republicans are stripping away slowly but surely so that they can take powers not given to them by the people. Everyone complaining about rogue government but fail to see where it all started under REPUBLICAN George W Bush. Enjoy federal government intrusion courtesy of the reckless GOP.
September 11, 2022 at 9:25 am
You can thank the “Religion of Peace” for this. We all know it is certain people that come primarily from certain countries that want to harm Americans. So rather than targeting “THOSE” people we have to subject “EVERYONE” to TSA security.
September 11, 2022 at 9:54 am
Almost every religion throughout time has participated in war, terrorism, intimidation, and abuse to spread influence. Read about Charlemagne and also manifest destiny etc. Were slaves in the USA encouraged to keep their own beliefs from Africa? Quite the opposite. Your racist views have led to your own ignorance, and people like you are just another reason why the GOP is losing popularity faster than Trump himself.
September 11, 2022 at 12:01 pm
Who were the racist’s on 9-11? Who were the religious fanatics on 9-11? Who likes to behead people on tv? You and your friend Ilhan Omar can just gloss over today. Most of us will never forget
September 11, 2022 at 1:21 pm
Trumpism is the religion of piss. This country is fked because of the GOP and idiots like you who blame everyone else. Look at Europe…these countries get along with everyone and take care of people. What does USA do? Start fights, overreact, over incarcerate, violate rights, hate as a political tool, exploitation, war internal and external, and on and on and on. This is because of “the left?” I don’t think so. Europe is mostly left and everyone is much more happy and without the bs going on here. You full of sht buddy..
September 11, 2022 at 4:39 pm
You really are an idiot. Go to Italy and ask the locals there if they are happy with the migrants flooding to their country from Africa. I saw a facility in Greece that looked like a prison camp that was built to house and contain Syrian refugees. Doesn’t appear to me that the Greeks are opening their arms for these people. Don’t walk down the wrong street in Belgium, France,or Germany. The members of the “Religion of Peace” won’t look kindly upon you. Did I mention that you are an idiot?
September 11, 2022 at 5:30 pm
@Jack: That’s a bunch of far right propaganda. Along the lines of Trump saying that Mexicans were rapists etc. Just a far right lie meant to segregate humanity.
September 11, 2022 at 7:08 pm
Come on Charlie Crist. We were talking about Europe right? If you ever get over there talk to the people that live there. See if they are really supportive of their own “Southern Border” invasion. You have a lot to learn.
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