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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama landed close to Wall Street at 8AM EDT where the couple and the former presidential couple George W. Bush and his wife Laura greeted victims families at Ground Zero’s North Memorial Pool. At 8.40AM, the American National Anthem was sung as the US flag was raised on the main stage.
The reading of the names of those who died continued all through the service. The Telegraph reports how pairs of relatives of the victims took turns to read out around ten names each and finishing with their deceased relative to whom they addressed a personal message.
To mark the moments when each plane hit the towers, moments of silence was held during the ceremony. A third silence was held to mark the attack on the Pentagon while the fourth marked the fall of the South Tower. At around 10AM EST, the fifth silence of the day marked Flight 93, the United Airlines plane whose passengers managed to overcome the hijackers, as it crashed in a Pennsylvanian field, killing all onboard. The final moment came at 10.28AM EST and marked the collapse of the second tower.
At the Pentagon ceremony, US Defense Security Leon Panetta said: “We will never forget the human cost paid by this generation – the more than 6,200 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines lost in the line of duty. Like those taken from us on 9/11, we feel their absence every day. Today we think of their families who have suffered tragedy and heartbreak, but shown extraordinary resilience and strength. We think of the thousands of veterans who carry the seen and unseen wounds of war with them every day.”
Bill Clinton released a statement in honor and remembrance of the victims and their loved ones. He thanked those left behind who had the courage and strength to help others in need: “Because we live in the most interdependent age in history, it is difficult to be open to the positive forces sweeping the world while closing our borders to the negative ones. So we also honor the service of those who have worked so hard for the last decade to keep America safe, free, and still open to people of every race, culture, and faith.”
According to The Telegraph, 422.000 New Yorkers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of the events during September 11, 2001.
The air quality around Ground Zero took nine months to return to pre-9/11 levels and it is estimated that over 2.500 contaminant were released by the fallen buildings. The Telegraph reported that many rescue workers and survivors fell ill from exposure to the toxic air and 75 of the recovery personal has since been diagnosed with blood cell cancers.
At 9.15AM GMT, a morning service of ‘remembrance and reconciliation’ was held today at Grosvenor Chapel in London, UK for the families of British 9/11 victims. Deputy US ambassador to Britain, Barbara Stephenson was attending. Later at around 11AM GMT, the memorial service at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral began.
Outside the US Embassy in London, extremists were burning the American flag in protest. British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary encouraged all followers of Islam to join, according to British The Daily Mail, as a response to plans of one church to stage an ‘International Burn-A-Koran day’. The leader of a Protestant church in Gainesville, Florida, Pastor Terry Jones is the man behind the idea of public burning of Islam’s holy book but his plan has faced criticism in the US.
Nonetheless, Mr. Choudary said to The Daily Mail “We have called for the people to burn the American flag so that instead of being humiliated or being intimidated they can make this day a day to remember the atrocities being committed in Muslim lands and to expose the aggressor.”
Violent clashed broke out between Osama bin Laden-supporters and London police in the streets outside the American embassy this morning, local time, as protesters were trying to storm the embassy. The Daily Mail reported that the protest comes amid heightened security in London in anticipation of a possible al-Qaeda attack — and only a few days after the British capital was singled out as a major recruiting ground for the terrorist organization.