On 20th anniversary of 9/11 WTC attacks, America honors victims
The United States today marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the deadliest terror attack on American soil and one of the most brutal around the world. This anniversary has become even poignant in the wake of a chaotic US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the loss of 13 US Marines in an attack in Kabul last month.
'Unity is our greatest strength,' Biden says
On the eve of the anniversary, President Joe Biden urged Americans to stay united. He said in a video message that unity is 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, Obama to attend memorial in New York
Commemorations will be held at each of the three sites where hijacked planes were crashed by the Al-Qaeda on the fateful day. At Ground Zero in New York City, where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood, relatives will read out the names of nearly 3,000 people killed. President Biden will be joined by former President Barack Obama at that event.
George Bush to speak at Pennsylvania memorial
There will be six moments of silence, corresponding with the times each of the towers was struck and fell, and the moments the Pentagon was attacked and Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field. At the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, George W. Bush, who was the President when the attacks happened, will deliver a speech.
Nearly 3,000 people died in 9/11 attacks
On this day in 2001, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four packed commercial flights and crashed them at separate locations across the US. At the World Trade Center, 2,753 died in the explosion and building collapse. Another 184 people died when a plane crashed at the Pentagon. The final flight crashed into a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back, saving the likely target- US Capitol.
What changed over the past 20 years?
Two decades have passed since that day but heart-wrenching memories remain for the friends and relatives of the victims. Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden has been killed by the US but accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others still await trial in Guantanamo Bay. Also painfully, the Taliban, which had once sheltered Laden, has returned to power in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.
'America will never forget'
"People who weren't alive don't have the same feeling about it as those who were alive. But America...will never forget about 9/11," Frank Siller, whose firefighter brother Stephen died at the World Trade Center that day, told AFP.