US Marks 22 Years Since 9/11

Chimes resonated at the heart of ground zero and thoughtful honors unfolded nationwide as Americans reminisced this Monday about the distress and enduring impact of 9/11. Citizens congregated at significant places including memorials, municipal buildings, universities, and more, marking the 22nd year since the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil. On this tragic day, nearly 3,000 individuals died in coordinated plane hijackings that targeted the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This fundamentally altered the U.S. approach to foreign relations and domestic security concerns.

“For individuals like us, who faced personal losses that day, the events of that day are a perpetual reality. While the world moves ahead, for us, the journey forward is intertwined with the memories of that day,” remarked Edward Edelman, who was present at ground zero to pay tribute to his late brother-in-law, Daniel McGinley.

President Joe Biden is slated to attend a commemorative event at a military facility in Anchorage. This stopover, during his journey back to Washington, D.C. from India and Vietnam, signifies the widespread reverberations of 9/11, affecting even the most remote parts of the country. 

Reflecting on the unity fostered during those trying times, Eddie Ferguson, the head of fire-rescue operations in Goochland County, Virginia, said, “On that particular day, we stood united as a nation, echoing the spirit of solidarity and mutual support that defines us. Every individual contributed to the rescue and relief efforts within their capabilities.”

This sentiment of unity is manifested in a local monument in the predominantly rural county which includes steel remnants from the demolished Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

To commemorate this day, numerous locales nationwide host various events including moments of silence, bell-tolling ceremonies, and candle-lit vigils. In Columbus, Indiana, emergency dispatch units transmitted a message of remembrance across police, fire, and EMS communication networks, reaching the entire population of 50,000, followed by a public memorial service.

In a touching gesture, young scouts are participating in a memorial event in Fenton, Missouri, where a “Heroes Memorial” incorporates a fragment of the World Trade Center’s steel structure and a plaque in memory of Jessica Leigh Sachs, a victim of the 9/11 attacks, whose family resides in the area. 

Mayor Joe Maurath noted the importance of recalling not only the events of 9/11 but all moments that characterize the essence of freedom, especially in smaller communities like theirs.

Monmouth County in New Jersey, home to several victims of 9/11, has declared the date a holiday for county employees, encouraging them to partake in commemorative events. 

Many individuals nationwide also engage in volunteer activities, aligning with the Congress-designated Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

At the epicenter of the tragic events, ground zero, Vice President Kamala Harris is set to participate in the ceremony at the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum plaza. This occasion will exclusively feature the voices of the victims’ families, who will read out the names of the deceased, honoring their memory.

One of the participants, James Giaccone, plans to continue the tradition of reading his brother Joseph’s name aloud, a practice he believes helps keep the memory of the departed alive. 

The remembrance holds a special place in his heart. “It is a day that altered the course of history, and its significance should never be diminished,” he emphasized.

This year marks the first time a U.S. president will commemorate the 9/11 anniversary in Alaska or any part of the western U.S. Various presidents have visited the sites of the attacks in previous years, with a few commemorations being held at the White House lawn as well.

First Lady Jill Biden is scheduled to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial.

In Pennsylvania, a site that witnessed the crash of a hijacked airplane following passengers’ brave attempt to regain control, a ceremony accompanied by wreath-laying is planned at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown. The event, managed by the National Park Service, will witness the presence of Doug Emhoff, Harris’ spouse.

The memorial site is also set to release new educational resources, including a virtual tour and a video for educational use, as part of their “National Day of Learning” initiative, available throughout the autumn season.

Katherine Hostetler, a ranger with the National Park Service, stressed the importance of educating the younger generation about the significance of this day, stating, “It is essential to convey the gravity of this day to the forthcoming generations.”