Ten years ago today, America’s sense of security was shattered in a series of attacks that tested the will and resolve of the American public. A surreal day of death and destruction emerged as planes plummeted from crystal blue skies and pierced through the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, averting what many believe would have been another catastrophic attack in Washington. -CNN
“They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear,” President Obama said in his weekly address Saturday.
“Yes, we face a determined foe, and make no mistake — they will keep trying to hit us again. But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people. And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.”
A solemn memorial service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York included the recitation of the names of 343 firefighters who died at ground zero.
Patrick Mate Lyons, who was born Oct. 7, 2001, read an open letter to his father, Patrick, one of those killed.
“I want you to know that Mommy is doing a great job of loving me and raising me in a happy home,” Patrick said. “I play flag football in the same league as you, and in the same position as you, as quarterback. In baseball, I pitch, just like you did. I really like it when people compare me to you.”
In the NFL, Cincinnati Bengals’ secondary coach, a Staten Island native, will reflect on those he knew who perished. Chuck Margiotta, with whom Coyle played football at Monsignor Farrell High School, was a firefighter who died at the World Trade Center.
“There are a lot of stories like that of family friends and high school friends who were lost in the attack,” Coyle said. “It’s still very personal to us.It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years. I still remember it like it was yesterday.”
Kevin found out that afternoon that his younger brother had survived. Harry Coyle worked at Ground Zero until midnight and then remained in Manhattan as part of regular shifts for three days.
“It was such an emotional thing for him. The heroism of the cops, firemen and first responders is incredible,” Kevin Coyle said. “I just hope that everyone takes time to appreciate the great country we live in and the sacrifices people have.”1
The US embassy in Afghanistan has begun the ceremonies, with events due later in the sites where four hijacked planes struck, killing nearly 3,000 people.
An official memorial to those who died is to be unveiled at the site of the World Trade Center, whose twin towers were destroyed in the attacks.
Speaking in Shanksville on Saturday at the unveiling of a memorial to the 40 victims of flight United 93, Mr Bush said “the United States will never forget”.
He lauded the passengers and crew of the flight, saying they launched “the first counter-offensive in the war on terror”.
In an interview with National Geographic he said the events of that day had changed his presidency dramatically.
“I went from being a president that was primarily focused on domestic issues, to a wartime president. Something I never anticipated nor something I ever wanted to be.”
A decade ago this week, people all over the world stood shoulder-to-shoulder in mourning, solidarity, sympathy and friendship with the people of the United States. Here are a few of those international reactions, both organized and spontaneous, that occurred in the days following September 11, 2001.
In London, the Star Spangled Banner played during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, while traffic came to a standstill in The Mall nearby.
In Beijing, tens of thousands of people visited the U.S. Embassy, leaving flowers, cards, funeral wreaths and hand-written notes of condolence on the sidewalk out front.
In Moscow, women who spoke no English and had never been to the U.S. were captured on film sobbing in front of a makeshift tribute on a sidewalk, and every single church and monastery in Romania held a memorial prayer.
In France, a well-known newspaper, Le Monde, ran a headline reading, “We Are All Americans.”
In the Middle East, both the Israeli president and the Palestinian leader condemned the attacks, and made a show of donating blood.
Kuwaitis lined up to donate blood as well. Jordanians signed letters of sympathy.
In Tehran, an entire stadium of people gathered for a soccer match observed a moment of silence, and in Turkey, flags flew at half-mast.
In Berlin, 200,000 people packed the streets leading to the Brandenburg Gate.
A thousand miles south, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, schoolchildren took a break from classes to bow their heads in silence.
In Dublin, shops and pubs were closed during a national day of mourning, and people waited in a three-hour line to sign a book of condolences.
In Sweden, Norway and Finland, trams and buses halted in tribute, and in Russia, television and radio stations went silent to commemorate the innocent dead.
In Azerbaijan, Japan, Greenland, Bulgaria and Tajiskitan, people gathered in squares to light candles, murmur good wishes and pray. And in Pretoria, South Africa, little kids perched on their parents’ shoulders holding mini American flags.
Firefighters in Hungary tied black ribbons to their trucks, firefighters in South Africa flew red, white and blue, and firefighters in Poland sounded their sirens, letting loose a collective wail one warm afternoon.
Cubans offered medical supplies. Ethiopians offered prayers. Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan offered their air space, and dozens of other world leaders called the White House to offer their support.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Canada, Albania and Sierra Leone marched in the streets in shows of solidarity, and mosques in Bangladesh, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Sudan trembled with clerics’ condemnation of those “cowardly” and “un-Islamic” attacks.
Lebanese generals convened to sign letters of sympathy, and in Italy, Pope John Paul II fell to his knees in prayer.
Albania, Ireland, Israel, Canada, Croatia, South Korea and the Czech Republic all declared national days of mourning, and the legendary bells of Notre Dame echoed throughout Paris.
In Italy, race car drivers preparing for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix silenced their engines, and in London, hundreds stood quietly during the noontime chimes of Big Ben.
In Belgium, people held hands, forming a human chain in front of the Brussels World Trade Center, and seventeen time zones away, strangers in Indonesia gathered on a beach to pray.
In India, children taped up signs that read, “This is an attack on all of us,” and in Austria, church bells tolled in unison.