US honours 9/11 dead on 20th anniversary of attacks
In a video posted on the eve of the anniversary, Biden urged Americans to show unity, "our greatest strength."
America marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday with solemn ceremonies given added poignancy by the recent chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and return to power of the Taliban.
At the 9/11 memorial in New York, a moment’s silence was held at 8:46 am (1246 GMT), the time the first hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Relatives, many wiping away tears, then began reading the names of those killed as the four-hour-long ceremony, attended by President Joe Biden and Barack Obama, got underway under tight security in New York.
Heart-wrenching commemorations will also unfold at the other two sites, the Pentagon in Washington DC and Shanksville in Pennsylvania.
The memorials come with US troops finally gone from Afghanistan, but national discord — and for President Joe Biden, political peril — are overshadowing any sense of closure.
In a video posted on the eve of the anniversary, Biden urged Americans to show unity, “our greatest strength.”
“To me, that’s the central lesson of September 11th. It’s that at our most vulnerable, in the push and pull of all that makes us human, in the battle for the soul of America, unity is our greatest strength,” Biden said in a six- minute message from the White House.
At Ground Zero, six moments of silence will be observed, corresponding with the times the two World Trade Center towers were struck, and fell, and the moments the Pentagon was attacked and Flight 93 crashed.
Monica Iken-Murphy, who lost her 37-year-old husband Michael Iken in the World Trade Center, said this will be a “heightened” anniversary for many Americans.
But for her, as for many other survivors, the pain has never wavered.
“I feel like it just happened,” she told AFP.
A whole generation has grown up since the morning of September 11, 2001.
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