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Tue, 12 Nov 2019 05:51 GMT

US to Mark 18-Year Anniversary of 9/11 Terror Attacks

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London

Wed, 11 Sep 2019 09:53 GMT

In remembrance of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, Americans mark the day, September 11th, dubbed ‘Patriot Day’, with mournful ceremonies, volunteering, and appeals to "never forget" 18 years after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

Victims' relatives are expected at Ground Zero on Wednesday September 11th, meanwhile President Trump is scheduled to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence is to speak at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, according to AP.

In addition, former President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief at the time of the 2001 attacks, is due at an afternoon wreath-laying at the Pentagon.

All victims' names are read aloud at the Ground Zero ceremony, where moments of silence and tolling bells mark the moments when the aircraft crashed and the Trade Centre’s twin towers fell.

Chundera Epps, a sister of 9/11 victim Christopher Epps, said at last year's ceremony at the World Trade Centre: "People say, 'Why do you stand here, year after year? Because soldiers are still dying for our freedom. First responders are still dying and being ill. We can't forget. Life won't let us forget.”

Some 9/11 memorials elsewhere already include rescue, recovery and clean-up workers whose health was affected by the events, and there is a remembrance wall entirely focused on them in Nesconset, on Long Island. Though those who fell ill or were injured, and their families, say having a tribute at Ground Zero carries special significance.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced on Monday September 8th that its 9/11 memorial will close next week for electrical and lighting work. The project, expected to take until late May 2020, includes repairs to lighting glitches in the shallow reflecting pools under the memorial benches.

In recent years, there has been growing awareness of the suffering of another group of people tied to the tragedy: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to the wreckage and the toxins that were released.

Victim compensation funds for people with potentially 9/11-related health problems have awarded more than $5.5 billion so far and over 51,000 people have applied.

This summer, Congress made sure the funds will not run dry. Trump, a Republican and a New Yorker who was in the city on 9/11, signed the measure in July.

A new 9/11 Memorial Glade was dedicated this spring at the Memorial Plaza at Ground Zero. The tribute features six large stacks of granite inlaid with salvaged Trade Centre steel, with a dedication "to those whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness, and death." No one is named specifically.

On September 11th 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville.

The aftermath of the attacks is felt throughout the globe from levels of airport security to events in Afghanistan. A rocket exploded at the US embassy as the anniversary began in Afghanistan, where a post-9/11 invasion has become America's longest war.

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