18 years later, America vows to ‘never forget’ 9/11
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans commemorated 9/11 with solemn ceremonies and vows Wednesday to “never forget” 18 years after the deadliest terror attack on American soil.
Victims’ relatives assembled at ground zero, where the observance began with a moment of silence and the tolling of bells at 8:46 a.m. — the moment a hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center’s north tower.
“As long as the city will gift us this moment, I will be here,” Margie Miller, who lost her husband, Joel, said at the ceremony, which she attends every year. “I want people to remember.”
After so many years of anniversaries, she has come to know other victims’ relatives and to appreciate being with them.
“There’s smiles in between the tears that say we didn’t do this journey on our own. That we were here for each other. And that’s the piece that I think we get from being here,” she said.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump led a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn and then were expected to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to speak at the third crash site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Former President George W. Bush, commander in chief at the time of the 2001 attacks, was due at an afternoon wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
The nation is still grappling with the aftermath of 9/11.
The effects are visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan, where the post-9/11 U.S. invasion has become America’s longest war.
Earlier this week, Trump called off a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan government leaders and declared the peace talks “dead.” As the September 11 anniversary began in Afghanistan, a rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy just after midnight.
The anniversary ceremonies center on remembering the nearly 3,000 people killed when hijacked planes slammed into the trade center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville on September 11, 2001.