9/11 victims are memorialized

Updated: 2014-09-12 06:16

By JACK FREIFELDER in New York(China Daily USA)

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9/11 victims are memorialized

At the memorial at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan in New York, Eileen Esquilin grieves for her lost brother Ruben Esquilin Jr. [Photo/Agencies]

On Thursday, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum commemorated the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a ceremony held to honor the nearly 3,000 men, women and children that were killed that day.

9/11 victims are memorialized

"We come together this day to honor and remember the innocent, men, women and children whose lives were cut short," Michael R Bloomberg, chairman of the 9/11 Memorial Board and former mayor of New York, said in a statement on Thursday. "To speak their names aloud reminds us all that these were our friends, our brothers, our sisters and our neighbors."

The observance, which was held at September 11 Memorial Plaza, began with a citywide moment of silence at 8:46 am to note the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

In total, the ceremony observed six moments of silence, marking the times each tower was struck and fell, the moment of the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Throughout the ceremony, relatives of the deceased took turns reading the names of the victims.

Some of the special guests attending the ceremony included New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Today, let our thoughts and prayers be with the families, who, with us all, are helping to make sure this country never forgets," Joe Daniels, president of the 9/11 Memorial, said on Thursday in a statement.

Andrew Berger, a 23-year-old radio producer who grew up on the East Side of Manhattan, said the thing he remembers most from the 9/11 attacks was "how chaotic the day was".

"As a 10-year-old I had no idea what was going on because we had never seen anything like that," Berger said. "At the time I thought it was a little accident, kind of like a boo-boo. My parents were at jury duty too, so I didn’t know they were affected.

"Nothing was running, no buses, trains, etc, the city basically shut down that day," he said.

Berger said that part of his interest in coming down to the 9/11 Memorial ceremony on Thursday boiled down to the fact that more than a decade later "this is still something that affects how people think and act".

"I came down to reflect on everything that has happened since then," Berger said. "It was supposed to be a perfect day and there was not a cloud in the sky. But as New Yorkers this changed our lives forever."

"Luckily I didn’t lose anybody, but I think the main thing is we all lost something that day — we lost some of our freedom," he said. "You were scared to walk outside, scared if a plane flew overheard, afraid of things that were really just a part of an everyday American life."


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