Americans solemnly commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11 on Saturday, remembering the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil just weeks after the tense end of the Afghanistan war that followed those attacks. Together, the attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.
With a ringing of the bell and a moment of silence, the anniversary ceremony at New York’s ground zero began exactly two decades after the attack began with the first of four hijacked planes crashing into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
“It felt like an evil specter had descended on our world, but it was also a time when a lot of people went above and beyond,” said Mike Low, whose daughter, Sara Low, was a flight attendant on that plane.
Since then, the flight attendant’s family has “known unbearable sadness and disbelief,” the father told a crowd that included President Joe Biden and former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton .
But “as we go through these 20 years, I find sustenance in an ongoing appreciation for all those who became more than just ordinary people,” Low added.
The anniversary unfolded under the cloak of a pandemic and in the shadow of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, now ruled by the same militiamen who gave refuge to the 9/11 conspirators.
“This is difficult because one expected that it would be a different moment and a different world, but sometimes history begins to repeat itself and not in the best way,” said Thea Trinidad, who lost her father in the attacks and who read the names of the victims during the ceremony at ground zero in New York.