‘We were one country, one nation’: US marks 22 years since 9/11 with tributes | September 11 2001 #country #nation #marks #years #tributes #September

From Ground Zero to small towns, Americans looked back Monday on 9/11 with moments of silence, tearful words and appeals to teach younger generations about the deadly terror attacks that struck the nation exactly 22 years before.

“For those of us who lost people on that day, that day is still happening,” Edward Edelman said as he arrived at New York’s World Trade Center to honor his slain brother-in-law, Daniel McGinley. “Everybody else moves on. And you find a way to go forward, but that day is always happening for you.”

Joe Biden spoke at a military base in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday afternoon. The president’s visit, en route to Washington from a trip to India and Vietnam, was a reminder that the impact of 9/11 was felt in every corner of the nation, however remote.

He noted that the al-Qaida terrorists “took 2,977 souls that day” – when they hijacked four passenger jets and crashed them, respectively, into the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon near Washington, DC, and into a field in Pennsylvania as passengers thwarted their goal of reaching the capital in the fourth plane.

But the US president added that “those terrorists could never touch the soul of America”.

The multi-pronged attack, the worst ever on US soil, reshaped American foreign policy and domestic fears.

Biden also noted how the catastrophe helped to unite the US and urged Americans – now enduring times of acute political polarization – that “we must never succumb to the politics of division”.

That sentiment was an echo of statements made earlier on Monday.

On that day, “we were one country, one nation, one people, just like it should be”, Eddie Ferguson, the fire-rescue chief in Virginia’s Goochland county, said in an interview last week. “That was the feeling – that everyone came together and did what we could, where we were at, to try to help.”

The predominantly rural county of 25,000 people is more than 100 miles (160km) from the Pentagon and more than three times as far from New York. But Goochland county has a local September 11 memorial and holds two public anniversary commemorations, one focused on first responders and another honoring all the victims.

At Ground Zero in New York, Kamala Harris, the vice-president, joined other dignitaries at the ceremony on the National September 11 Memorial plaza. Instead of remarks from political figures, the event features victims reading the names of the dead and delivering brief personal messages.

The New York City mayor, Eric Adams, the vice-president, Kamala Harris, and the New York governor, Kathy Hochul, at the 9/11 commemoration ceremony in New York City.
The New York City mayor, Eric Adams, the vice-president, Kamala Harris, and the New York governor, Kathy Hochul, at the 9/11 commemoration ceremony in New York City. Photograph: Peter Foley/UPI/Shutterstock

Some included patriotic declarations about American values and thanked first responders and the military. One lauded the Navy Seals who killed al-Qaida leader and 9/11 plotter Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. Another appealed for peace and justice. One acknowledged the many lives lost in the post-9/11 “war on terror”. And many shared personal reflections on missing loved ones.

“Though we never met, I am honored to carry your name and legacy with me,” said Manuel João DaMota Jr, who was born after his father and namesake died.

Jason Inoa commemorated his grandfather, Jorge Velázquez. The 20-year-old Inoa said speaking at the ceremony was “very nerve-racking”, but he did it for his grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

“The one thing she does remember is her husband,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

#country #nation #marks #years #tributes #September

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