Americans are commemorating 9/11 with somber tributes, volunteer projects and a new monument to victims, after a devastating time when two attacks demonstrated the enduring threat of terrorism in the nation’s biggest city.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on 9/11, when international terrorism hit home in a way it previously hadn’t for many Americans. Sept. 11 still shapes American policy, politics and everyday experiences in places from airports to office buildings, even if it’s less of a constant presence in the public consciousness after 17 years.
At Tuesday’s anniversary ceremony, thousands of 9/11 victims’ relatives, survivors, rescuers and others are expected at the World Trade Center while President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will head to the two other places where hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, in the deadliest terror attack on American soil.
The president and first lady Melania Trump plan to join an observance at the Sept. 11 memorial in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a new “Tower of Voices” was dedicated Saturday. Pence is attending a ceremony at the Pentagon. Trump, a Republican and native New Yorker, took the occasion of last year’s anniversary to issue a stern warning to extremists that “America cannot be intimidated.”
The 9/11 commemorations are by now familiar rituals, centered on reading the names of the dead. But each year at ground zero, victims’ relatives infuse the ceremony with personal messages of remembrance, concern and inspiration.
The group 9/11 Day, which promotes volunteering on an anniversary that was declared a national day of service in 2009, routinely asks candidates not to campaign or run political ads for the day. Organizers of the ground zero ceremony allow politicians to attend, but they’ve been barred since 2011 from reading names or delivering remarks.
Memorials to 9/11 continue to grow at Shanksville, where the Tower of Voices will eventually include a wind chime for each of the 40 people killed there, and ground zero, where work is to begin soon on a pathway honoring rescue and recovery workers.
Meanwhile, rebuilding continues. A subway station destroyed on 9/11 finally reopened Saturday. In June, doors opened at the 80-story 3 World Trade Center, one of several rebuilt office towers that have been constructed or planned at the site. A performing arts center is also in the works.
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