Thousands of Americans gathered Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the sites where four hijacked airliners crashed, killing 2,977 people.
In New York City’s Manhattan borough, a majestic crowd gathered at the site where two planes struck the 110-story World Trade Center towers on September 11.
The ceremony was attended by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, along with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and their wives, according to CNN.
None of them spoke, but they heard the names of the 2,606 victims who were killed in New York on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil.
“My older brother was a lover of life, and he liked to make people laugh,” Anthula Katsimatidas, whose brother John was killed while working on the 104th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, told the crowds.
And she continued: “Following the attacks, we received an unexpected amount of kindness and generosity, to each one of us (the families of the victims).
Friends, strangers, family, and the whole country seemed to hold us in its arms, and that gave me enough strength to wake up the next day and the days after.”
Meanwhile, another crowd was in front of the Pentagon in Washington, where the third plane destroyed the western facade of the Pentagon building on September 11.
With a serious and angry tone, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces Mark Milley told the crowd.
The victims of the attacks are the “innocents caught in the crossfire of terrorism”.
“The ideology of hate is unfolding on this very earth. In seconds, 184 men, women, and children were killed,” he added.
And in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the passengers of Flight 93 managed to confront the hijackers and bring the plane down in a field before it reached its supposed target in the Capitol Building in Washington.
Former President George W. Bush gave one of his most memorable speeches.
“Here are the passengers who were chosen by fate because they are the saviors,” Bush said.
“Countless people alive today owe an enormous debt to these 40 passengers and crew.
We have learned that courage is greater than we could have imagined, and it appears with surprising splendor in the face of death.”
During his speech, Bush referred to the kidnappers’ religion, saying, “I saw the Americans reject fanaticism, and embrace the followers of the Islamic faith…this is the nation that I know.”
Also in Shanksville, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke and was later joined by President Biden, who also attended the memorial at the Pentagon.
On September 11, 2001, small groups of hijackers hijacked four airliners.
It took off from New York, Boston, and Washington to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and used it to strike prominent buildings in New York and Washington.
And two planes hit the World Trade Center towers in New York, while the third plane destroyed the western facade of the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) in Washington.
The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, and it is believed that the hijackers intended to use it to attack the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.