NEW YORK — Thousands of Americans across the country including the relatives, survivors and rescuers of the 9/11 terror attacks, are marking the anniversary of one of the nation’s most scarring days.
Many of them are expected to gather Monday at the World Trade Center.
Sixteen years later, the quiet rhythms of commemoration have become customs: a recitation of all the names of the dead, moments of silence and tolling bells, and two powerful light beams that shine through the night.
“Thank you, New York, for continuing to honor the victims of 9/11 and the privilege of reading their names,” Judy Bram Murphy said last year. She lost her husband, Brian Joseph Murphy.
Nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked planes slammed into the trade center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001, hurling America into a new consciousness of the threat of global terrorism.
President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker observing the anniversary for the first time as the nation’s leader, is scheduled to observe a moment of silence at about the time the first airplane hit. The White House said he is to be joined by First Lady Melania Trump.
He also planned to participate in a 9/11 observance at the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are hosting a private observance for victims’ relatives there at 9:11 a.m. Monday. After the names are read at that ceremony, there’s a public observance, with a wreath-laying and remarks.
Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke are scheduled to deliver remarks at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville. It’s on the rural field where one of the airliners crashed after passengers and crew fought to wrest control away from the terrorists who’d hijacked it and were heading for Washington.
Construction continues at the Shanksville memorial, where ground was broken Sunday for a 93-foot (28 meters) tall Tower of Voices to honor the 33 passengers and seven crew members who died.
Meanwhile, rebuilding and reimagining continues at ground zero. The third of four planned office towers is set to open next year; so is a Greek Orthodox church, next to the trade center site, that was crushed by the South Tower’s collapse. Work toward a $250 million performing arts center continues after a design was unveiled last fall.
Most recently, plans were announced this spring to transform a grassy clearing on the memorial plaza into a walkway and area dedicated to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, including those who died of illnesses years after being exposed to smoke, dust and ash at ground zero.
Here in the Mid-South, the Memphis Fire Department, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Fire Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Department will host a 911 Remembrance Service.
The event will honor the 343 fire fighters, 60 police officers and eight paramedics who were killed in the line of duty on that tragic day. It will be held at the Memphis Fire Museum at 118 Adams Avenue at 8:45 a.m.
AARP Tennessee and Operation Stand Down MidSouth will also be holding their annual Day of Service.
Starting at 10 a.m., the groups will be collecting items at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library at 3030 Poplar Avenue to help our veterans transition into civilian life.
For more information on how you can help, click here.
Finally, Alpha Omega Veterans Services (AOVS) will be hosting their 12th annual AOVS Golf Classic at the Ridgeway Country Club. Proceeds from the tournaments will go directly to helping homeless and disabled veterans.
Mayor Jim Strickland and Penny Hardaway are both scheduled to attend.