The morning sun rises on Sept. 11, 2012, as Walla Walla Fire Department firefighter-paramedic Jim Stovall stands at attention in front of the firefighter’s memorial in Crawford Park on Main Street to commemorate 9/11. Local firefighters took shifts, standing at attention from 7:30-11 a.m. today, during the time of the attacks. According to organizer Anthony Spada the department wanted to do something understated this year. “People have seen enough of the buildings blowing up,” Spada said. They wanted to do something to, “just remember.”
Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans paused again Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks with familiar ceremony, but also a sense that it’s time to move forward after a decade of remembrance.
As in past years, thousands gathered at the World Trade Center site in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., to read the names of nearly 3,000 victims killed in the worst terror attack in U.S. history. President Barack Obama was to attend the Pentagon memorial, and Vice President Joe Biden was to speak in Pennsylvania.
But many felt that last year’s 10th anniversary was an emotional turning point for public mourning of the attacks. For the first time, elected officials weren’t speaking at the ceremony, which often allowed them a solemn turn in the spotlight, but raised questions about the public and private Sept. 11. Fewer families attended the ceremonies this year, and some cities canceled their remembrances altogether.
“I feel much more relaxed” this year, said Jane Pollicino, who came to ground zero Tuesday morning to remember her husband, who was killed at the trade center. “After the ninth anniversary, that next day, you started building up to the 10th year. This feels a lot different, in that regard. It’s another anniversary that we can commemorate in a calmer way, without that 10-year pressure.”
As bagpipes played at the year-old Sept. 11 memorial in New York, family clutching balloons, flowers and photos of their loved ones bowed their heads in silence at 8:46 a.m., the moment that the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the trade center’s north tower, and again to mark the crashes into the second tower, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observed the moment in a ceremony on the White House’s south lawn, and then laid a white floral wreath at the Pentagon, above a concrete slab that said “Sept. 11, 2001 — 937 am.”
Victims’ families in New York began the solemn, familiar ritual of tearfully reading the names of nearly 3,000 killed, with personal messages to their lost loved ones.
“Rick, can you hear your name as the roll is called again? On this sacred ground where your dust settled?” said Richard Blood, whose son, Richard Middleton Blood Jr., died in the trade center’s south tower. “If only those who hear your name could know what a loving son and beautiful person you grew to be. I love you, son, and miss you terribly.”