Reflecting on 9/11
A look at some commemorations on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks:
NORFOLK, Va. – Sailors and Marines aboard a warship forged with 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Centre held a remembrance ceremony and pledged to do all in their power to prevent another attack.
“We often tell people, it’s not just about that one day. The spirit here is really about what happened the next day and the next day and every day since,” Captain John Kreitz, the USS New York’s commanding officer, said in a telephone interview after the shipboard ceremony. “That spirit pervades this ship.” The New York’s home port is Norfolk, Va., but it is operating in the Navy’s 5th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
JERUSALEM – At Israel’s Sept. 11 memorial — a 30-foot bronze sculpture of a waving American flag that morphs into a memorial flame — the father of one victim endorsed the crackdown on terrorism. Dov Shefi, the father of Hagay Shefi, who was attending a conference that day in the twin towers, said: “Let us hope that the free world will continue to fight against leaders of terrorist organizations and their supporters; let all the souls of the thousands of victims whose names are marked on this great living memorial in Jerusalem be remembered from here to eternity.”
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited service members’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington. The Obamas quietly walked between rows of graves at Section 60, which contains the remains of the most recent war dead. Pausing at several graves, Obama placed presidential “challenge” coins at the base of the headstones. The first headstone listed the names of 10 victims of an Oct. 26, 2009, helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Earlier, the Obamas placed a wreath at the Pentagon and observed a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn.
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. – Scores of people began arriving shortly after dawn at the site where a United Airlines jet crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania after the crew and passengers revolted against their hijackers.
“Every 9/11 I come out to one of the sites,” said Robert Hamel of El Segundo, Calif.
Hamel spent the 10th anniversary at the ground zero ceremony in New York City last year, and plans to visit the Pentagon for next year’s anniversary. Hamel says he feels a need to be connected to the tragic events of the day.
GLEN ROCK, N.J. – For some communities in the New York City region, 2012 was the first year without an official Sept. 11 memorial observance. The northern New Jersey community of Glen Rock held no organised public commemoration. The Glen Rock Assistance Council and Endowment, a community group set up to help families of the town’s 11 victims, decided after months of community meetings that it was time to end the public events and let people remember on their own.
“It was a difficult decision,” said Brad Jordan, the group’s chairman. “We felt this year it was more appropriate for a more personal and private observance.”
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The mayor of Montclair decided to shift from a ceremony commemorating the terrorist attacks to urging residents to commit “random acts of kindness”.
Spokeswoman Katya Wowk said: “It was a matter of moving in another direction, really, in terms of looking at marking the day in a way that would be meaningful and significant to everyone in terms of a service-oriented commemoration.”
NEW YORK – About a block from the trade centre site and the annual ceremony there, employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were remembered at the Church of St. Peter. Judith McNeil of East Orange, N.J., wore a T-shirt with a picture of her brother, Walter, who was looking ahead to retiring from the Port Authority police department when he was killed on Sept. 11. She was unconcerned that public interest in the commemorations may have declined.
“To be honest, it’s better because there aren’t so many people and reporters in our face, in our space,” she said. “It’s all about the families, and we need to show we’re here for each other. I will keep coming here as long as God gives me good health and I’m still breathing.”
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Family members and friends of Sept. 11 victims gathered for an oceanfront ceremony at Point Lookout Beach in Hempstead. They wrote messages and names of victims on a panorama of the New York City skyline. Some also included the names of servicemen and women serving overseas. (AP)