11 September 2012, 13:07

9/11 anniversary: US marks national day of remembrance

9/11 anniversary: US marks national day of remembrance

This year’s Day of Service and Remembrance for victims of the 9/11 terror attack will be the first relatively low-key one in years, with the usual crowds of politicians planning to abstain from speaking at the crash sites of the four planes.

The main ceremony will be the ritual reading at New York’s Ground Zero of the names of the 2,983 people killed in a series of four suicide attacks that were committed in the United States on September 11, 2001, coordinated by Al-Qaeda to strike areas of New York City and Washington, DC. Relatives of the victims will take turns at reading out the names against the background of mournful music.

A moment of silence will be observed first to mark the moment when four jets crashed into the Twin Towers and another two moments when the tallest city buildings collapsed, accounting for the vast majority of 9/11 casualties.

However, the list of VIP guests at the New York ceremony will be much shorter this year, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg abstaining from taking to the podium. The point is "honouring the victims and their families in a way free of politics," memorial President Joe Daniels has said.

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are to attend a moment of silence at the White House and at the Pentagon, the target of one of four planes hijacked 11 years ago. His Republican competitor Mitt Romney will meanwhile address the National Guard, who were among the first responders.

Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are expected to attend the improved memorial at a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania where the fourth planes, allegedly heading to the Capitol, went down after its passengers attempted to take control of the jet from the hijackers.

With the November presidential elections on the horizon, there will be no official suspension of the ongoing campaign, unlike in the previous years, although both contenders have agreed to remove their negative ads to honour the victims of the deadly attacks.

Huffington Post, Dawn.com, CTV News, Seattle Pi
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