Americans mark 11th anniversary of 9/11
By Chris Francescani, Reuters
September 12, 2012, 12:00 am TWN
NEW YORK--Memorial ceremonies marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks began Tuesday under clear blue skies that recalled the crisp morning 11 years ago when nearly 3,000 people were killed by airliners hijacked by Islamist militants.
At Ground Zero in New York where the towers once stood, more than 1,000 relatives of those killed and others gathered for the annual reading of the list of 2,983 people killed at the three sites. The list excludes the 19 hijackers, who also died.
The reading began at 8:39 a.m. (1239 GMT), with pauses for moments of silence at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m. and 10:03 a.m., the time of impact for the four planes, and again at 9:59 a.m. and 10:28 a.m., the times that the north and then the south tower fell.
As the moment of the reading approached, family members, uniformed police and firefighters milled about the vast, twin reflecting pools that mark the footprints of the two towers, their edges etched with the names of the victims. Many carried or wore pictures of their loved ones.
Alyson Low, 41, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, carried a picture of her sister, Sara Elizabeth Low, who was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash, striking the trade center's north tower.
"I'm tired," Low said, tearfully. "I am just so tired."
The reading of names began with Patricia Abbott, wife of Alan Jay Richman, who died at the trade center.
In previous years, politicians including U.S. presidents, governors and New York City mayors have participated in the reading of the names, or have read from the Bible or recited passages from literature.
This year only the families of the more than 2,750 who were killed at the World Trade Center will appear on the podium to read their names.
Politicians may still attend, but under event rules set down in July by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, none may speak or participate in the reading of names.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will attend the New York ceremony this year.
The restrictions will not extend to politicians at the other remembrances.
President Barack Obama observed a moment of silence for the Sept. 11 victims on the South Lawn of the White House.
Flanked by a flag-bearing military honor guard, the president and first lady Michelle Obama stood solemnly with heads bowed.