Bells toll as the US marks 22 years since 9/11, from ground zero to Alaska


NEW YORK: Bells tolled at ground zero and solemn tributes unfolded around the country as Americans looked back Monday on the horror and legacy of 9/11. People gathered at memorials, firehouses, city halls, campuses and elsewhere to observe the 22nd anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on US soil. Nearly 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes crashed at New York’s World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the attack reshaped American foreign policy and domestic fears.
President Joe Biden is due to join service members and their families at a ceremony on a military base in Anchorage, Alaska. His visit is a reminder that the impact of 9/11 was felt in every corner of the nation, however remote.
Vice President Kamala Harris is joining the ceremony at the trade centre. First lady Jill Biden is due to lay a wreath at the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon. Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, is expected at a wreath-laying at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville.
Commemorations stretch from the attack sites – at New York’s World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania – to Alaska and beyond.
“For those of us who lost people on that day, that day is still happening. Everybody else moves on. And you find a way to go forward, but that day is always happening for you,” Edward Edelman said as he arrived at ground zero to honour his slain brother-in-law, Daniel McGinley.
On that day, “we were one country, one nation, one people, just like it should be. That was the feeling – that everyone came together and did what we could, where we were at, to try to help,” said Eddie Ferguson, the fire-rescue chief in Virginia’s Goochland County.
It’s more than 100 miles (160 km) from the Pentagon and more than three times as far from New York. But a sense of connection is enshrined in a local memorial incorporating steel from the World Trade Centre’s destroyed twin towers.
The predominantly rural county of 25,000 people holds not just one but two anniversary commemorations: a morning service focused on first responders and an evening ceremony honouring all the victims.
Other communities across the country pay tribute with moments of silence, tolling bells, candlelight vigils and other activities. In Columbus, Indiana, 911 dispatchers broadcast a remembrance message to police, fire and EMS radios throughout the 50,000-person city, which also holds a public memorial ceremony.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts raise and lower the flag at a commemoration in Fenton, Missouri, where a “Heroes Memorial” includes a piece of World Trade Center steel and a plaque honouring 9/11 victim Jessica Leigh Sachs. Some of her relatives live in the St Louis suburb of 4,000 residents.
“We’re just a little bitty community,” said Mayor Joe Maurath, but “it’s important for us to continue to remember these events. Not just 9/11, but all of the events that make us free.”
New Jersey’s Monmouth County, which was home to some 9/11 victims, made Sept 11 a holiday this year for county employees so they could attend commemorations.
As another way of marking the anniversary, many Americans do volunteer work on what Congress has designated both Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

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