Hundreds have gathered at Ground Zero in New York City on Wednesday to observe the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that took 2,977 lives and left a scar in the heart of America.
On Wednesday Americans were urged to ‘never forget’ the terror attacks nor the emergency first responders who lost their lives in their heroic rescue efforts.
Bells tolled across the nation at approximately 8.46am – the moment Flight 11 struck the north twin tower of the World Trade Center. President Donald Trump observed the moment from the White House South Lawn.
Relatives of the victims of the attacks gathered for the ceremony at Ground Zero Wednesday morning where the names of each of the victims were solemnly read out. Some families seen proudly raising photos of their loved ones in the crowd.
President Donald Trump will speak at the Pentagon, where the third plane exploded, while Vice President Mike Pence will speak near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where heroic passengers brought down the fourth jet before it could reach Washington, to commemorate the devastating attacks.
Former President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief at the time of the 2001 attacks, is due at an afternoon wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
Hundreds are gathering at Ground Zero in New York City on Wednesday morning to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the horror 9/11 attacks that took took 2,977 lives on September 11, 2001
Those that gathered to Ground Zero saluted the flag and put their hands on their heart during the National Anthem
We will never forget: Family members took to the podium to read out the names of their loved ones who perished in the 9/11 attacks and shared anecdotes and messages to their relatives
18 years later: Family members lifted photos of their loved ones along with the message ‘We Will Never Forget’
Hundreds gathered to observe the moment of silence and hear the reading of the victim names on Wednesday in New York
New York City Fire Department (FDNY) firefighters stand in silence outside Firehouse Engine 10 Ladder company 10 on the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001
Paying tribute: Sam Pulia and his grandson Sammy Pulia place American flags next to the name of a relative who was a firefighter killed in the terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial on September 11, 2019
Never forgotten: A woman pictured wiping away tears as she stands next to the north pool prior to Wednesday’s ceremony
Meanwhile in at the White House south Lawn President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania participated in a moment of silence honoring the victims of the September 11 attacks Wednesday morning
The President will deliver remarks today at the Pentagon memorial – where the survivors and families of the 184 victims who died in the attack will gather for a remembrance ceremony
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when terrorists hijacked planes and drove them through the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.
The Wednesday Commemoration ceremony, which was only open to family, started with the bell’s toll at 8.46am and commenced with pomp and circumstance with the carrying of the flag followed by a parade of bagpipers as armed service men saluted on. The crowd then fell silent for the National Anthem.
Families in the crowd were seen clutching onto photos of their loved ones and wearing T-shirts bearing their relative’s image as they looked on.
Then the names of the victims were read out aloud by relatives who would stop to say anecdotes about their loves ones.
‘Donald W. Robertson Jr. Donny, words cannot express how you are missed and loved. Your legacy lives on in your four beautiful children as well as our friends and family. We choose to remember how you lived, not how you left us. God bless you all and God Bless America,’ one woman read out during the solemn ceremony.
‘My dad Michael David Cohen. It’s been 18 years and we miss you every day,’ another woman added.
The names of the six victims of the February 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing also will be read.
‘People say, “Why do you stand here, year after year?” Chundera Epps, a sister of Sept. 11 victim Christopher Epps, said at last year’s ceremony at the World Trade Center. ‘Because soldiers are still dying for our freedom. First responders are still dying and being ill.’
‘We can’t forget. Life won’t let us forget,’ she added.
The families of victims read out the names of the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks, adding anecdotes when sharing the names of their loved ones and imparting powerful messages to ‘never forget’
Onlookers gathered at Ground Zero for Wednesday morning’s remembrance ceremony in New York City
Swathes of people at Ground Zero fell silent for the moving reading of the names and to hear the anecdotes relatives shared on their loved ones lost in the terror attacks
In our hearts: This man holds up a framed photo of 9/11 victim Ruben Correa on the 18th anniversary of 9/11
This man is pictured holding a framed photo of his loved one during Wednesday’s remembrance ceremony in New York
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pictured at the remembrance ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial on Wednesday
Mayor Bill de Blasio pictured with Tammy Murphy, her husband New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy and New York State Attorney General Letitia James and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg
New York firefighters pictured above at the remembrance ceremony. In the attacks and collapse of the towers 343 New York City firefighters died
Louis Gonzalez makes a rubbing of his sister’s name at the National September 11 Memorial on Wednesday
Paying Tribute: Airline employees pictured visiting the north reflecting pool during the remembrance ceremony Wednesday
Firefighters bow their heads and close their eyes during the September 11 morning ceremony on Wednesday as bells rang out at 8.46am to observe the moment Flight 11 struck the north tower
It was a difficult day for many as they gathered at the 9/11 memorial to pay their respects to the lives lost in the terror attacks
Flags and roses were placed at the memorial next to the engraved names at the memorial during the remembrance ceremony
In Shanksville, Pennsylvania the observance will begin at 9.45am at the Flight 93 Memorial Plaza.
At 10.03am, the moment Flight 93 crashed, the names of the passengers and crew members will be read and the Bells of Remembrance will be rung in their memory and a wreath will then be placed at the Wall of Names at the site.
At the Pentagon memorial, the survivors and families of the 184 victims who died in the attack were invited for a private ceremony from 9.30am to 11am, where Trump will deliver remarks.
All areas are closed to the public until the ceremony concludes.
Eighteen years after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath at ground zero, in Congress and beyond.
In the horrific attack 19 men hijacked four U.S. commercial airplanes.
At the World Trade Center, 2,753 people were killed when American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally plowed into the north and south towers, sending billows of smoke into the Manhattan sky and creating a harrowing image that wll be seared into American memory forever.
Observers at Ground Zero pictured embracing each other ahead of the Wednesday ceremony
Relatives of the victims were invited to the site to hear their loved ones names read out and the museum was closed to family only. Some were scene carrying pictures of their loved ones
Firefighters and police pictured above going through a rehearsal before the start of the ceremonies on Wednesday September 11
New York City firefighters salute in front of a memorial on the side of a firehouse adjacent to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site during ceremonies on the 18th anniversary of 9/11 on Wednesday
Police stand guard before the start of ceremonies at the National September 11 Memorial on September 11, 2019
Police and bagpipers were seen going through an early morning rehearsal before the ceremony early Wednesday morning
In the Wednesday ceremony every victim’s name will be read out and bells will toll to mark the moments when two hijacked planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center
In the attacks and collapse of the towers 343 New York City firefighters died, 23 NYPD officers, and 37 Port Authority officers died.
In Washington, 184 people died when hijackers took over American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon
Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania 40 passengers and crew died on United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. Authorities believe the hijackers crashed the plane their rather than their unknown intended, after passengers attempted to regain control of the flight deck.
Beyond the emotional trauma of the attacks, 9/11 lingering’s effect has taken a physical toll on New Yorkers as firefighters, police and others have fallen ill due to exposure to the wreckage and the toxins unleashed in it.
While research continues into whether those illnesses are tied to 9/11 toxins, a victims compensation fund for people with potentially September 11-related health problems has awarded more than $5.5 billion so far. Over 51,000 people have applied.
After years of legislative gridlock, dwindling money in the fund and fervent activism by ailing first responders and their advocates, Congress this summer made sure the fund won’t run dry. Trump, a Republican and a New Yorker who was in the city on 9/11, signed the measure in July.
The American flag flies at half staff on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks
An American flag is unfurled on the side of the Pentagon to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks September 11, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia
The Tribute in Light rises above the lower Manhattan skyline, Tuesday, September 10, 2019 in New York, a day before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks
Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers in New York City on September 11, 2001
In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, firefighters work beneath the destroyed mullions, the vertical struts that once faced the outer walls of the World Trade Center towers following the twin tower attack
The sick gained new recognition this year at the memorial plaza at ground zero, where the new 9/11 Memorial Glade was dedicated this spring.
The tribute features six large stacks of granite inlaid with salvaged trade center steel, with a dedication ‘to those whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness, and death.’ No one is named specifically.
Some 9/11 memorials elsewhere already included sickened rescue, recovery and cleanup workers, and there is a remembrance wall entirely focused on them in Nesconset, on Long Island. But those who fell ill or were injured, and their families, say having a tribute at ground zero carries special significance.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Monday that its 9/11 memorial will close next week for electrical and lighting work. The project, expected to take until late May, includes repairs to lighting glitches in the shallow reflecting pools under the memorial benches.
September 11 is known not only as a day for remembrance and patriotism, but also as a day of service. People around the country continue to volunteer at food banks, schools, home-building projects, park cleanups and other charitable endeavors on and near the anniversary.