Relatives of the September 11 victims gathered at ground zero in New York City today to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the attack that killed almost 3,000 people.
The moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.
Wednesday marked when the first plane hit the twin towers on a clear,
sunny day in 2001. Then, families of the victims started reading aloud
the names of those who died.
Along with the names of those who died when the hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were read out the names of those killed in the hijacked Flight 93 and the victims of the 1993 trade center bombing.
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Mija Quigley of Princeton Junction, New Jersey, embraces the name of her son Patrick Quigley who died on 9/11
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Jill Biden stand for a moment of silence on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, as they mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks
Carrie Bergonia looks over the name of her fiance, firefighter Joseph Ogren, during ceremonies at the 9/11 Memorial marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
First responders gather in lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center site as the nation commemorates the anniversary of the 2001 attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
In Arlington, Virginia, family members of the Pentagon attack victims and survivors of the attack gathered to hear from Obama and other leaders at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial near the place where terrorists drove a jetliner into the Department of Defense headquarters in 2001
The World Trade Center Flag is presented as friends and relatives of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks gather at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site on Wednesday morning
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, and current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, at the 9/11 Memorial ceremony to mark the 12th Anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York
Kayla Fallon, daughter of William Fallon who died on 9/11, wipes away tears at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, left, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, pictured at the ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama put their hands on their hearts during the playing of 'Taps' as they stand on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington
Family members of New York City firefighter Christopher A. Santora from Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, observe a moment of silence during a ceremony near the firehouse on West 48th street
Flowers and pictures are displayed by a name along the north reflecting pool at the 9/11 Memorial
Retired FDNY Marshal Ernie Medaglia, of Bronxville, N.Y., who was at the attacks at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, is emotional as he listens to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a ceremony near the 9/11 Memorial honoring first responders and FDNY Rescue 1 on the 12th anniversary of the attacks
A woman wipers her eyes after reading the name of her brother, Bobby Hughes, at the National September 11 Memorial, left, and a pair of people embrace, right, as friends and relatives of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
A TSA color guard takes part in a ceremony at Cleveland Hopkins Airport Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, marking the 12th anniversary
The Obamas hold moment of silence for 9/11
A second bell tolled at 9:03 a.m. to mark when the second plane hit the twin towers. Then the reading of the names resumed. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former
Gov. George Pataki attended, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov.
Anthony Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Barack Obama marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a
moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House.
along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and wife
Jill Biden, walked out of the White House at 8:46 a.m., EDT, the moment
the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower in New York a dozen
They bowed their heads to observe a moment of silence, which
was followed by a bugler playing taps.
'It is an honor to be with you here again to remember the tragedy of 12 Septembers ago, to honor the greatness of all who responded and to stand with those who still grieve and to provide them some measure of comfort once more,' Obama said.
'Together we pause and we give humble thanks as families and as a nation.'
The president then attended a Sept. 11 observance at the Pentagon where he laid a wreath during a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the worst terror attack on the U.S.
While Obama made no direct mention of the crisis in Syria, he vowed to 'defend our nation' against the threats that endure, even though they may be different than the ones facing the country during the 2001 attacks.
Shanhellen Jiminez, left, of Brooklyn, who lost her mother Elena Ledesma on 9/11, does a crayon rubbing of her mother's name along with her boyfriend, who asked not to be named, at the 9/11 Memorial
Eighth-grader Jancarlos Brito, 14, watches a Patriot Day ceremony with fellow students on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 outside Northeast Middle School in Bethlehem, Pa., to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Grissel Valentin, left, and Eileen Esquilin, who both lost family members and are both from New York, embrace at the edge of the North Pool at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies for the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan
President Barack Obama greets Zoey Komongnan, right, and her grandmother Mary Komongnan after speaking at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
President Obama greets family members of those who where lost in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon at a ceremony at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, wipes his face as he speaks during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the Pentagon on Wednesday morning
President Barack Obama lays a wreath at the Pentagon during a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the worst terror attack on the U.S.
US President Barack Obama, left-rear, and others salute during the playing of the US National Anthem during a memorial service at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
Senate Majority Leader from Nevada Harry Reid, center, speaks during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Washington, DC
A woman prays at the edge of the North Pool at the 9/11 Memorial during a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
‘Let us have the wisdom to know that
while force is sometimes necessary, force alone cannot build the world
we seek,’ Obama said during a ceremony at the Pentagon.
those gathered at the Pentagon on Wednesday where family members of those
killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Many wore red, white, and blue striped ribbons
and some cried as the president spoke.
‘Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been,’ Obama said.
president also paid tribute to the four Americans killed one year ago
in an attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, asking the country
to pray for those who ‘serve in dangerous posts’ even after more than a
decade of war.
commemorative event at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric
Holder called on an audience of several hundred employees to remember
'the nearly 3,000 innocent people whose lives were lost' and to pay
tribute to the 72 law enforcement officers who were killed trying to
A woman reflects at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center
Friends and relatives of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks gather at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site
Relatives of the victims of gather, left, at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, while Daniel Henry, right, a Port Authority of New York/New Jersey police officer observes a moment of silence at 9:01 am EDT
Hannah Townsend, 25, gives a prayer next to the One World Trade tower at Ground Zero on September 11, 2013 in New York City
Singer Billy Joel, left, and motorcycle designer and television personality Paul Teutul, Jr., look up at One World Trade Center Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, after they rode with firefighters and first responders with the FDNY Motorcycle Club from FDNY Rescue 1 headquarters to the World Trade Center site
Gail Silke, left, and her niece Erica Tierney trace the name of Gail's brother Steven Bristoll who died while working as a police officer on September 11, 2001
Relatives rub the names listed on the edge of a reflecting pool at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center
Family members of Ji Yao Justin Zhao pay their respect to him at the South Poll of the 9/11 Memorial during ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
The World Trade Center Flag is presented as friends and relatives of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks gather at the National September 11 Memorial
UNITED IN REMEMBRANCE: THE DIFFERENT EVENTS MARKING THIS YEAR'S 9/11 ANNIVERSARY
NEW YORK CITYIn a sadly familiar ceremony, friends and relatives of World Trade Center attack victims gathered at the National Sept. 11 Memorial plaza to call out the names of the dead and read messages to their lost loved ones.A bell tolled to mark the moments when four hijacked jets crashed into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a field in the Pennsylvania countryside, and again to mark the moments when the two skyscrapers collapsed.Several politicians attended, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York Gov. George Pataki, but none gave an address.WASHINGTONPresident Barack Obama held a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. on the White House's South Lawn to mark the first attack in New York. He was joined by Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden. A bugler played 'Taps.'At the Pentagon Sept. 11 memorial in Arlington, Va., victims' families, attack survivors and military officials laid a wreath and held a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. to mark the moment that Flight 77 hit the building.PENNSYLVANIAMore than 200 people gathered at the Flight 93 National Memorial to read the names of 40 passengers and crew killed when the airliner crashed into a field near the small town of Shanksville.
Recalling the passengers and crew who had fought the hijackers, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the assembled families and spectators, 'We never know when we'll be called to lay down our lives for others.'
Prior to the morning ceremony at the two-year-old memorial plaza in New York City, Gov.
Andrew Cuomo, musician Billy Joel, firefighters and others had joined in a
tribute motorcycle ride from a Manhattan firehouse to ground zero.
I miss you so much, and I think about you every day,' Christina Aceto
said of her father, Richard Anthony Aceto. 'You were more than just my
daddy, you were my best friend.'
the memorial plaza, police barricades blocked access to the site,
even as life around the World Trade Center looked like any other
morning, with workers rushing to their jobs and construction cranes
looming over the area.
'No matter how many years pass, this time comes around each year - and it's always the same,' said Karen Hinson of Seaford, N.Y., who lost her 34-year-old brother, Michael Wittenstein, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee.
'My brother was never found, so this is where he is for us,' she said as she arrived for the ceremony with her family early Wednesday.
Continuing a decision made last year, no politicians will speak, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Over his years as mayor and chairman of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum, Bloomberg has sometimes tangled with victims' relatives, religious leaders and other elected officials over an event steeped in symbolism and emotion.
But his administration has largely succeeded at its goal of keeping the commemoration centered on the attacks' victims and their families and relatively free of political image-making.
'Joe, we honor you today and all those lost on Sept. 11,' said Kathleen O'Shea, whose nephew Joseph Gullickson was a firefighter in Brooklyn. 'Everyone sends their love and asks that you continue to watch over us all, especially your wife.'
Memorial organizers expect to take
primary responsibility for the ceremony next year and say they plan to
continue concentrating the event on victims' loved ones, even as the
forthcoming museum creates a new, broader framework for remembering
'As things evolve in the future, the focus on the remembrance is going to stay sacrosanct,' memorial President Joe Daniels said.
Hinson said she would like the annual ceremony to be 'more low-key, more private' as the years go by.
12th anniversary also arrives with changes coming at the Flight 93
National Memorial in Shanksville, where officials gathered Tuesday to
herald the start of construction on a visitor center.
the world, thousands of volunteers have pledged to do good deeds,
honoring an anniversary that was designated a National Day of Service
and Remembrance in 2009.
Bloomberg and then-Gov. George Pataki announced the plans for the first
anniversary in 2002, the mayor said the 'intent is to have a day of
observances that are simple and powerful.'
role hasn't always been comfortable. When the ceremony was shifted to
nearby Zuccotti Park in 2007 because of rebuilding at the trade center
site, some victims' relatives threatened to boycott the occasion.
lead-up to the 10th anniversary brought pressure to invite more
political figures and to include clergy in the ceremony.
Jose Rosales observes a moment of silence honoring the victims of the September 11 attacks outside the World Trade Center site, where bagpipes, bells and a reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed took place to mark the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001
TSA agents sing 'God Bless America' at a checkpoint in Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, during a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks
A woman gazes at the One World Trade Center as church bells toll for 9/11 victims on the anniversary of the 2001 attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Friends and family members gather at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden observe a moment of silence to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington
By next year's anniversary, Bloomberg will be out of office, and the museum is expected to be open beneath the memorial plaza.
the memorial honors those killed, the museum is intended to present a
broader picture of 9/11, including the experiences of survivors and
the organizers expect they 'will always keep the focus on the families
on the anniversary,' Daniels said.
That focus was clear as relatives
gathered last September on the tree-laden plaza, where a smaller crowd
was gathering Wednesday - only friends and family of the victims were
Bruni Sandolval carried a large photo of childhood friend Nereida DeJesus, a victim.
grew up together on the Lower East Side and I come every year with her
family,' she said. 'Coming here is peaceful in a way.'
Denise Matuza, who lost her husband on Sept. 11, said people ask her why she still comes to the service with her three sons.
doesn't make us feel good to stay home,' she said. Her husband called
after the towers were struck. 'He said a plane hit the building, they
were finding their way out, he'd be home in a little while. I just
waited and waited,' she said.
'A few days later I found an email he had sent that they couldn't get out.'
Obama honors 9-11 victims at Pentagon
Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden, walked out of the White House at 8:46 a.m., EDT, the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower in New York a dozen years ago
A man reflects on the benches of the Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon in Washington, DC
President Obama wipes his face as he delivers remarks during a remembrance ceremony for the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia
Steven Campbell pauses on September 11, 2013 to remember his wife Jill Maurer-Campbell during the 9/11 Memorial ceremonies
Antoni Cortes, and his wife Grace clean a portrait of their daughter Adrianed Oyola as they pay their respect to her at the South Pool at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
Hector Garcia of Brooklyn and his daughter Tania hold a placard with a photo of their daughter and sister Marlyn who died in the attacks as they attend ceremonies for the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center site
9/11 12TH ANNIVERSARY: THE HEROES OF FLIGHT 93 ARE REMEMBERED IN PENNSYLVANIA
Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial participate in a sunset ceremony with a giant flag memorializing Flight 93 on Tuesday
In Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m., bells were rung and names of passengers and crew members were read at the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The families of the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93 recalled their loved ones as heroes who made history with unselfish and quick actions.
'In a period of 22 minutes, our loved ones made history,' said Gordon Felt, the president of the Families of Flight 93, whose brother, Edward, was among the 33 passengers and seven crew members aboard the hijacked plane on Sept. 11, 2001.
Families of those aboard the plane, along with nearly 200 more people, read the names aloud and bells tolled, as they marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol.
As passenger Todd Beamer issued the rallying cry 'Let's roll,' he and several fellow passengers rushed down the airliner's aisle to try to overwhelm the hijackers after learning of the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The 9/11 Commission concluded that the hijackers downed the plane as the hostages revolted.
As the names were read, a light haze began to burn off the surrounding hills. The memorial wall of white stone has each victim's name engraved on a separate panel, and the scene was framed by yellow wildflowers behind the stones.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell recalled the sacrifice the passengers made.
'We never know when we'll be called to lay down our lives for others,' she said, speaking of the bravery of passengers and crew who fought back against the hijackers.
The reading of names and tolling of bells was the first part of the Flight 93 National Memorial's plans to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Later Wednesday, park rangers and volunteers will give presentations about Flight 93 and the creation of the memorial park, which is located in Shanksville, about 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
A groundbreaking for a 6,800-square-foot visitor center was held Tuesday. The building will be broken in two at the point of the plane's flight path overhead. It is expected to open in late 2015.
The first features of the memorial in Shanksville were completed and dedicated in September 2011, including new roads and a Memorial Plaza near the crash site. Forty memorial groves of trees have also been planted, and large sections of the park have been replanted or reforested.
The tale of the courageous actions of everyday people aboard Flight 93 helped provide a measure of optimism for the American public in the dark days and weeks that followed the terrorist attacks.
It also inspired a 2006 docudrama, 'United 93,' the first big-screen dramatization about the terrorist attacks that used a cast of unknown actors and played out roughly in real time from the passenger check-in to the crash.
Visitors to the park have left more than 35,000 tributes at the site, and they have been collected as part of an archival collection.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, center, pauses as she places a lantern at the wall containing the 40 names of the crew and passengers of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Tuesday
A photo of New York City Firefighter James Crawford who died during the attacks of September 11, 2001 was put there by his family as they came to participate in the 9/11 Memorial ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary
Relatives at the 9/11 Memorial during a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City
People walk along the 9/11 Memorial as the nation commemorates the anniversary of the 2001 attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
A woman walks along Hudson River at sunrise across from New York's Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, September 11, 2013
Tribute In Light: Two beams were lit on Tuesday behind the Statue of Liberty in preparation for today's anniversary
Iconic: The tribute shines above the Manhattan skyline. Today the names of almost 3,000 people killed in the World Trade Center and 9/11 attacks will be read out at ground zero
Stunning: The powerful Tribute In Light is one of a number of memorial plans for the 12th anniversary
Memorial: The light display commemorates the twin towers of the World Trade Center
Memorial: The tribute has been an annual fixture since 2010 after first being installed in 2002
Ring of light: The Tribute in Light can be seen rising above buildings in lower Manhattan, during a test on Tuesday
Focus: Memorial organizers are expected to take primary responsibility for the annual memorial from next year and say the families of victims will remain the focus of the ceremonies
Lighting up the city: The two columns, made up of 88 searchlights, was originally installed in 2002 by New York's Municipal Art Society
For everyone: On clear nights, the lights can be seen from over 60 miles away and visible to all of New York City
In the distance: A Brooklyn subway passes over a bridge as New York City's Tribute In Light shines in the background
The world mourns: New York will host a memorial at ground zero and ceremonies will be held across the U.S. and the globe
9/11: Nearly 3,000 people died when four hijacked planes were used in coordinated strikes on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers (pictured). The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania
Poignant: 3,000 flags are placed in memory of those killed on September 11 at a park in Winnetka, Illinois
Fitting: The flags represent each person killed in the coordinated strikes on the U.S. 12 years ago