World Celebrates 20th Anniversary of September 11 – .

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World Celebrates 20th Anniversary of September 11 – .


NEW YORK – The world solemnly celebrated the 20th anniversary of September 11, mourning the lost lives and shattering American unity in commemorations that took place just weeks after the bloody end of the war in Afghanistan that was unleashed in response terrorist attacks.

Relatives of the victims and four US presidents paid tribute at the sites where hijacked planes killed nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest terrorist act on American soil.

Others gathered for celebrations in Portland, Maine, Guam, or for volunteer projects on what has become a day of service in the United States.

“It was as if an evil specter had descended on our world, but it was also a time when many people were acting beyond the ordinary,” said Mike Low, whose daughter, Sara Low, was the hostess. of air in the first plane that crashed. .

“As we continue these 20 years, I find my sustenance in an ongoing appreciation for all who have become more than just ordinary people,” the father told a Ground Zero crowd including President Joe Biden and former Presidents Barack. Obama and Bill Clinton. .

In a video posted Friday night, Biden said 9/11 illustrated that “unity is our greatest strength.”

Unity is “the thing that is going to affect our well-being more than anything else,” he added during a visit to a volunteer fire station on Saturday after laying a wreath at the crash site. September 11 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He then took a moment of silence at the third site, the Pentagon.

The anniversary was celebrated under the guise of a pandemic and in the shadow of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is now led by the same Taliban militant group that gave refuge to the 9/11 plotters.

“It’s difficult because you were hoping it would be just another time and another world. But sometimes history starts to repeat itself and not in the best possible way, ”said Thea Trinidad, who lost her father in the attacks, before reading the victims. ‘names at the ceremony.

Bruce Springsteen and Broadway actors Kelli O’Hara and Chris Jackson performed at the commemoration, but traditionally no politician spoke.

At the Pennsylvania site – where passengers and crew fought to regain control of a plane allegedly targeted at the United States Capitol or the White House – former President George W. Bush said that September 11 had shown that Americans can come together despite their differences.

“Much of our politics has become a naked appeal of anger, fear and resentment,” the incumbent president said on September 11. “On the day of America’s trial and mourning, I saw millions of people instinctively grab hold of their neighbor’s hand and rally to each other’s cause. This is the America I know. “

“This is the truest version of ourselves. This is what we have been and what we can be again. “

Calvin Wilson said a polarized country had “missed the message” of the heroism of the flight’s passengers and crew, including his brother-in-law, LeRoy Homer.

“We are not focusing on the damage. We don’t focus on hate. We don’t focus on retaliation. We’re not focusing on revenge, ”Wilson said before the ceremony. “We focus on the good that all of our loved ones have done. “

Former President Donald Trump visited a New York police station and fire station, praising the bravery of responders while criticizing Biden for pulling out of Afghanistan.

“It was blatant incompetence,” said Trump, who was scheduled to comment on a boxing match in Florida that evening.

The attacks ushered in a new era of fear, war, patriotism, and ultimately polarization. They also redefined security, changed airport checkpoints, policing practices and government oversight powers.

A “war on terror” led to invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, where America’s longest war ended last month with a massive and rushed airlift punctuated by a suicide bombing which killed 169 Afghans and 13 US servicemen and was assigned to a branch of the Islamic State extremist group. The body of the slain Marine Sergeant. Johanny Rosario Pichardo was taken to her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts, on Saturday, where people lined the streets as the flag-draped coffin passed by.

The United States is now concerned that al-Qaida, the terrorist network behind 9/11, could regroup in Afghanistan, where the Taliban flag once again flew over the presidential palace on Saturday.

Two decades after helping sort and treat wounded colleagues at the Pentagon on September 11, retired Army Col. Malcolm Bruce Westcott is saddened and frustrated by the continued threat of terrorism.

“I always thought my generation, my military cohort, would take care of it – we wouldn’t pass it on to anyone else,” said Westcott, of Greensboro, Ga. “And we passed it on. “

At point zero, relatives of several victims thanked the troops who fought in Afghanistan, while Melissa Pullis said she was just happy they were finally home.

“We can no longer lose soldiers. We don’t even know why we are fighting, and 20 years have gone by the wayside, ”said Pullis, who lost her husband, Edward, and whose son Edward Jr. on the USS Ronald Reagan.

Families spoke of shortened lives, missed milestones and a loss that always seems immediate. Several pleaded for a return to the solidarity that erupted for some time after 9/11, but quickly gave way.

“In our grief and our strength, we were not divided based on our vote preference, the color of our skin or our moral or religious beliefs,” said Sally Maler, sister-in-law of victim Alfred. Russell Maler.

Yet in the years that followed, American Muslims suffered from suspicion, surveillance and hate crimes. Schisms and bitterness grow on the balance between tolerance and vigilance, the sense of patriotism, the right way to honor the dead and the scope of a promise to “never forget”.

Trinidad was 10 years old when she heard her father, Michael, say goodbye to her mother over the phone from the burning mall. She remembers the pain but also the camaraderie of the days that followed, when all of New York “felt like it was family.”

“Now when I feel like the world is so divided, I just wish we could come back to it,” said Trinidad, of Orlando, Fla. “I feel like the world would have been so different if we could just have kept that feeling. “

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Associated Press editors Michael Rubinkam in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island; Jill Colvin in New York; and Alexandra Jaffe in Shanksville and Washington contributed to this report.

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