20 Years Later: September 11 Remembrance Ceremony in NYC

America solemnly marked 9/11 twenty years after the deadliest act of terror on U.S. soil took nearly 3,000 lives.

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Sunday, September 12, 2021
2021 9/11 Reading of the names
2021 9/11 Reading of the names

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City and the nation on Saturday marked 20 years since the 9/11 terror attacks with solemn remembrances and vows to "never forget."

On a morning much like September 11, 2001, families of the victims returned to Lower Manhattan to remember their loved ones who perished.

RELATED | Reading of the names

Bruce Springsteen and Broadway actors Kelli O'Hara and Chris Jackson sang at the commemoration, but by tradition, no politicians spoke there.

The reading of the names ended shortly before 1:00 p.m.

The Tribute in Light returned at sunset to shine into the night sky from the rough footprints of the Twin Towers.

The families of the World Trade Center victims returned to Lower Manhattan for the remembrance ceremony to read the names of the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

Updates from the 9/11 Remembrances Across America

Bidens participate in wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the third 9/11 memorial this afternoon, participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon. They were joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the third 9/11 memorial this afternoon, participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon

Bidens pay respect at Shanksville

President Biden and the first lady joined a wreath-laying at the Flight 93 memorial. They also walked hand in hand onto a field near the memorial.

VP Harris speaks at Shanksville

Vice President Kamala Harris began her remarks at the Flight 93 memorial with words for those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11.

"So many in our nation -- too many in our nation -- have deeply felt the passage of time these past 20 years," she said. "Please know your nation sees you and we stand with you and we support you."

Harris said Sept. 11, 2001 showed the power of unity among strangers and that sentiment is still powerful 20 years later.

George W. Bush speaks at Shanksville

The victims and heroes of Flight 93 are being commemorated at a ceremony at the site where the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.

Former President George W. Bush reflected on the bravery of the passengers amid the carnage taking place throughout the country.

"We learned that bravery is more common than we imagined, emerging with sudden splendor in the face of death," Bush said.

Bush, who was president during the attacks, commended the courage of the Flight 93 passengers and crew who are believed to have foiled an attack on the U.S. Capitol by leading the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania.

"The 33 passengers and seven crew of Flight 93 could have been any group of citizens selected by fate. In a sense, they stood in for us all," Bush said. "The terrorists soon discovered that a random group of Americans is an exceptional group of people."

He encouraged Americans to put aside their political differences in the spirit of what he saw after 9/11.

Final moment of silence

A sixth moment of silence was held at the World Trade Center memorial at 10:28 a.m. to mark the time when the North Tower collapsed. "Hamilton" actor Chris Jackson performed "Never Alone."

United Flight 93

A fifth moment of silence held at 10:03 AM, when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

The moment the first tower collapsed

Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett and photographer Marty Glembotzky rushed down to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. While shooting a standup right below the burning towers, the first tower began to collapse. N.J. talked about that moment with Bill Ritter prior to today's ceremony.

Bill Ritter talks to Reporter NJ Burkett about being on-air the moment World Trade Center's South Tower collapsed.

4th moment of silence

A fourth moment of silence took place at 9:59 a.m., the time when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Bells tolls at the at the National September 11th Memorial & Museum and across New York City.

Third moment of silence

A moment of silence was held at 9:37 a.m. when a third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon 20 years ago.

Bruce Springsteen performs

Following the second moment of silence, Bruce Springsteen performed "I'll See You in my Dreams" for families. The song is from his 2020 album "Letter to You." The reading of the names resumed following the performance.

bruce springsteen 9/11
Bruce Springsteen performs during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York
Evan Vucci

Second moment of silence

A second moment of silence was held at 9:03 AM, when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Reading of the names begins

Following the first moment of silence, families began reading the names of the lives lost on Sept. 11.

Mike Low, whose daughter Sara was a flight attendant on Flight 11, spoke before the readings began. While he said his family's pain is still raw, they have found comfort in the community and outpouring of support from all over the world.

"As we recite the names we lost my memory goes back to that terrible day when it felt like an evil specter descended on our world, but it was also a time when people went above and beyond the ordinary," Low said.

The ceremony at ground zero begins

At 8:46 a.m., a moment of silence was held and church bells rang across New York City to mark the time when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Watch the beginning of the September 11 remembrance ceremony.

Obama hails the heroes of 9/11 and afterward

President Barack Obama has lauded the heroes of 9/11 - and of the years since - in a message to mark the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks. "One thing that became clear on 9/11 - and has been clear ever since - is that America has always been home to heroes who run towards danger in order to do what is right," said Obama, who was U.S. President from 2009 to 2017.

RELATED | 'Eyewitness to 9/11: Behind the Lens' reveals untold stories, rare video of America's darkest day

Queen offers 'thoughts and prayers' on anniversary of 9-11

Queen Elizabeth II marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by offering her sympathies to the victims, survivors and families affected by the atrocity. In a message to U.S. President Joe Biden, the British monarch remembered the "terrible attacks." She says, "my thoughts and prayers - and those of my family and the entire nation - remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.''

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