Americans commemorate 11th anniversary of 9/11 attacks

  • Memorial services marking the anniversary of the September 11 attacks took place across the United States on Tuesday.

    The ceremonies began in New York City under a clear blue sky, reminiscent of the morning when 11 years ago nearly 3,000 people lost their lives after Islamist militants hijacked airliners.

    Two of the planes brought down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center while another damaged the Pentagon outside Washington. A fourth plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania when passengers fought back against the hijackers.

    At Ground Zero, where the towers once stood, more than 1,000 family and friends of those killed gathered for the annual reading of the list of 2,983 people killed at the three sites. The list does not include the 19 hijackers, who also died.

    The reading began at 8:39am with pauses for moments of silence at 8:46am, 9:03am, 9:37am and 10:03am, the time of impact for the four planes, and at 9:59am and 10:28am, marking the times that the north and south towers collapsed.

    The reading of the names took more than 3 hours as 198 people recited the list alphabetically.

    In previous years, politicians have taken part in the reading of the names. However, this year only the families of those killed appeared on the podium.

    Politicians can still attend the reading, but under rules established in July by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, they may not speak or participate in the reading of names.

    The restrictions do not apply to politicians at other services.

    President Barack Obama observed a moment of silence for the victims on the South Lawn of the White House.

    Vice President Joe Biden addressed a crowd in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where 40 passengers aboard United Flight 93 were killed.