US commemorates 9/11, pays respects to fallen

Family members hold up photos during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

It’s been 18 years. 18 years since the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when planes hijacked by the terrorist group al-Qaida decimated the World Trade Center’s north tower and slammed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Passengers aboard a third plane fought back against the hijackers and managed to direct the aircraft into a Pennsylvania field rather than its original target, Washington D.C. All died on impact.

While the U.S. is still facing fallout from 9/11, like intensified airport security and its post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan, the lives lost that day were honored Wednesday morning by leaders, military and citizens all over the country.

An Associated Press story reports that many victim’s relatives commemorated the day by converging at the World Trade Center, the very spot where the first plane struck 18 years ago. The group held a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. accompanied by “the tolling of bells” and the victims’ names being read aloud.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pause after placing a wreath and will participate in a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Another Associated Press story reports that President Donald Trump spoke at the Pentagon Wednesday morning. While at the podium, the president warned militant groups against striking against the U.S. and said “If anyone dares to strike our land, we will respond with the full measure of American power and the iron will of the American spirit, and that spirit is unbreakable,” according to the Associated Press story.

Trump spent the majority of his speech paying tribute to the countless victims, first responders and U.S. troops that fought in Afghanistan. At one point, he and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath adorned in red, white and blue flowers beside the memorial site, as reported by the Associated Press.

A third Associated Press story documents the story of three women nicknamed the “Freeport flag ladies.” The trio has been returning to the same street every week since Sept. 11, 2001, to wave the American flag. This morning, joined by several hundred others, the women retired the tradition.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, far left, shares a moment with the “Freeport flag ladies,” left to right, JoAnn Miller, Elaine Greene, and Carmen Footer, on Main Street, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Freeport, Maine. The three women who’ve been waving the Stars and Stripes each week since the 9/11 attacks are retiring the tradition. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

An Associated Press story documenting ongoing major 9/11 events around the country reports that Vice President Mike Pence attended a commemoration Wednesday morning in Pennsylvania. The memorial took place in the field that passengers crashed Flight 93 fighting back against the hijackers.

According to the Associated Press, officials have since declared that the hijackers were aiming the plane at Washington, D.C.

During the Wednesday memorial, Pence honored the 40 passengers and crew members killed in the crash and said they are “carved into the hearts and memories of the American people.”

The New Yorker published a series of photos taken by Estonian immigrant Konstantin Petrov, who started working as an electrician at a restaurant called Windows on the World in June 2001. The restaurant was located inside the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Petrov, an avid photographer, took countless photos of the area he worked. Some were taken the night before 9/11 and are among the few documented photos of what the building looked like hours before the terrorist attacks, according to The New Yorker.

The New York Times published an article about a woman dealing with trauma brought on by 9/11. Kayla Bergeron, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official at the time, was working on the 68th floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit.

The article chronicles Bergeron’s “harrowing descent” from the building and how the experience has impacted her life since.

As reported by The New York Times, Bergerson said, “We weren’t first responders. We weren’t cops or firefighters whose job was to go into the building. People told us, ‘Be happy to be alive.’ We minimized ourselves afterward, and it all built up over the years.”

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