UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — New York commemorated Wednesday the anniversary of the deaths of some 3,000 people in the September 11, 2001 attacks at an official ceremony in Ground Zero, where planes hijacked by al-Qaeda militants shot down the World Trade Center towers.
Relatives of the victims, police officers, firefighters and city leaders gathered at the National Memorial of September 11 to mark the 18th anniversary of the deadliest attack on US soil.
The audience observed two minutes of silence at 8:46 am (12:46 GMT) and 9:03 am when the hijacked planes hit the north and south towers of the World Trade Center.
New York Gov. Andrew Como, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, and his predecessors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani were present.
In an annual tradition, the families of the victims began to recite the long list of dead, saying few words glorifying their memory at a ceremony that lasted about four hours.
“We love you and miss you and will always be the heroes of the United States,” said one woman after naming her brother and cousin.
Relatives hugged and comforted each other and left flowers at the monument, while some carried pictures of their late loved ones.
Policemen held up the American flag to the memorial service before the US national anthem was played.
US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania greeted the families of the victims and survivors at the White House, where the anniversary of the attacks was marked by a minute of silence.
Trump then went to the Pentagon for a speech.
Al Qaeda jihadists hijacked four planes. The third hit the Pentagon and the fourth crashed, in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In addition to those killed on September 11, thousands of members of relief teams, construction workers and residents have suffered many diseases, many of them chronic, as a result of inhaling toxic smoke.
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