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NYC skyline with Tribute in Light The “Tribute in Light” installation marks where the two former World Trade Center Towers once stood. (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images)

The 11th Anniversary of 9/11

America remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001

By Laura Leigh Davidson | September 10 , 2012
A new World Trade Center complex is currently under construction. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)
A new World Trade Center complex is currently under construction. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)

This Tuesday, many people throughout the United States and around the world will mark a sad anniversary in the history of our nation. Eleven years ago, on September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the U.S.

The terrorists hijacked four airplanes in mid-flight. They flew two of the planes into two skyscrapers at the World Trade Center in New York City, causing the buildings to catch fire and collapse. Another plane destroyed part of the Pentagon (the U.S. military headquarters) in Arlington, Virginia.

Officials believe that the terrorists on the fourth plane intended to destroy either the White House or the U.S. Capitol. Passengers on the plane fought the terrorists and it instead crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In all, nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

A TIME TO MOURN

Since the tragedy, communities have used the anniversary to remember victims and their families—including first responders like firefighters and police officers who lost their lives in rescue and recovery missions.

President Barack Obama marked the event during his regular Saturday Internet and radio address to the nation. “On this solemn anniversary,” he said, “let’s remember those we lost, let us reaffirm the values they stood for, and let us keep moving forward as one nation and one people.”

On Tuesday, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment of silence on the White House lawn and attend a memorial service at the Pentagon. Later, Obama will visit wounded military service members at Walter Reed Hospital.

Services of remembrance will take place in cities and towns across the country. Many of those events will also honor members of the military who have fought in the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks. Although the war in Iraq ended late last year, U.S. troops are still fighting in Afghanistan.

At the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, family and loved ones will read the names of victims lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center. In addition, two giant beams of light will shine directly into the night sky to mark where the two fallen skyscrapers once stood. This annual art project, called “Tribute in Light,” will begin to shine at sunset on September 11 and will fade away at dawn on September 12.

A NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE

Many people dedicate the anniversary of 9/11 to performing service projects in their local communities. In 2009, an act of Congress—signed into law by President Obama—officially designated each September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

In Miami, Florida, for instance, volunteers will pitch in to clean up and repair Tropical Park. And this past weekend, 12-year-old Andrey Gordon of Mamaroneck, New York, helped make lunches for the HOPE Community Services food pantry at the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester.

“It’s very sad that all those people lost their lives,” Andrey told local reporters. “But this is something positive, making sure others have food.”

Click here for more resources on the commemoration of this event.

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