US commemorates 9/11 with thousands expected at ground zero

NEW YORK (AP) – While the US contends with the destruction caused by two ferocious hurricanes in three weeks, Americans also are marking the anniversary of one of the nation’s most scarring days.

Thousands of 9/11 victims’ relatives, survivors, rescuers and others are expected to gather at the World Trade Center to remember the deadliest terror attack on American soil.

Sixteen years later, the quiet rhythms of commemoration have become customs: a recitation of all the names of the dead, moments of silence and tolling bells, and two powerful light beams that shine through the night.

Yet each ceremony also takes on personal touches. Over the years, some name-readers have added messages ranging from the universal (“the things we think separate us really don’t – we’re all part of this one Earth”) to the personal (“I love you and miss you. Go Packers!”).

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum surrounded by high-rise towers in New York. – AP

“Thank you, New York, for continuing to honour the victims of 9/11 and the privilege of reading their names,” Judy Bram Murphy added last year. She lost her husband, Brian Joseph Murphy.

Nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked planes slammed into the trade centre, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 2001, hurling America into a new consciousness of the threat of global terrorism.

President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker observing the anniversary for the first time as the nation’s leader, is scheduled to observe a moment of silence at about the time the first airplane hit. The White House said he is to be joined by first lady Melania Trump.