Commemorating 9/11

Firefighters face a pile of rubble where the World Trade Center's twin towers once stood. Photo: Matthew McDermott

(from the official website) — As the anniversary of September 11 approaches, our thoughts are once again with all those who lost loved ones on that tragic morning. We remember the names, faces, and lives of the men, women, and children who were killed, and look for ways to ensure that each and every one of them is not forgotten. As we commemorate here at the Memorial, we invite you to join us in remembering September 11 and all that this day means.

As the country commemorates the fourteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it is important for all Americans to remember the victims and first responders who died that day and pray for the families and friends they left behind.

Year after year, memorials, vigils and tributes are held to commemorate the lives lost and the efforts put forth from first responders. In addition to the ceremonies held at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, across the country, towns and cities will hold remembrance ceremonies. Below is a brief explanation of the New York City commemorations:


The anniversary ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center will begin at 8:39 a.m., and will include six moments of silence marking when the World Trade Center towers were struck and fell, when the Pentagon was attacked and when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.

The ceremony will again feature the reading of the names of the 2,983 men, women and children who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania during the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It will also include a reading of the names of the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center Islamic terrorist attack. Houses of worship have been asked to toll their bells as part of the ceremony. An honor guard made up of members representing the FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police will also participate.

After a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. – the moment the first plane struck the North Tower – the reading will proceed, with a second pause at 9:03 a.m., the moment the second plane struck the South Tower.

There will be pauses at 9:37 a.m., when Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, at 9:59 a.m., when the South Tower fell, at 10:03 a.m., when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, and finally at 10:28 a.m., when the North Tower fell.

Family members of victims of both the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks are invited to privately tour the National September 11 Memorial Museum from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The 9/11 Memorial opened in 2011 and the museum opened on May 15, 2014.


At 6 p.m., the “Tribute in Light” will begin with two beams of illuminated, blue light, symbolizing the Twin Towers. The lights will shine into the sky until the next morning.

Beginning at 3 p.m. until midnight, the 9/11 Memorial, located at 200 Liberty St., 16th floor, will be open to the public for a special viewing of “Tribute in Light.” The Memorial provides a meaningful vantage point of the annual tribute.


The Parish of Trinity Wall Street in Lower Manhattan will observe the anniversary of the attacks with the ringing of the Bell of Hope — which was given to New York City by London in 2002 and has been rung each year since the first anniversary — and a 10 a.m. Mass for Peace at St. Paul’s Chapel, located on Broadway and Fulton Street.

For a better understanding of what happened on September 11, 2001 (9/11) and to learn the stories of those who were killed and of the survivors, read the “Background” and check out the links under “Resources.”

Also, watch a news report from that morning:


NOTE TO STUDENTS: Before answering the questions, read the “Background” below.

1. What is Ground Zero; what is the focus of the 9/11 commemoration at Ground Zero each year?

2. List the times proceedings will stop for moments of silence.

3. Answer the following questions about 9/11:
a) Who was President on 9/11?
b) Who was the mayor of New York City on 9/11?
c) How many planes were hijacked on 9/11? What were their flight numbers and where did each crash?
d) What three locations were the terrorists targeting?
e) At what time did each plane hit (time, place and flight number)?
f) Who were the terrorists (religion and terror group)?
g) How many people were killed on 9/11?
h) Describe the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

4. How will the Islamic terrorist attacks of 9/11 be commemorated at Shanksville, this year?

5. Read the “Background” and visit some of the links under “Resources.” List 2-3 things you did not already know about 9/11 from this information that you think is important for all Americans to know.

6. a) Some people say we need to move past 9/11 and look to the future. Others say “never forget.” After watching the videos and reading more about 9/11, what do you think? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.


Have you learned about the first World Trade Center terrorist attack:  On February 26, 1993, Islamic terrorists detonated a truck bomb below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 pound device was intended to send the North Tower (Tower 1) crashing into the South Tower (Tower 2), bringing both towers down and killing tens of thousands of people. It failed to do so but killed six people and injured more than a thousand.

September 11, 2001 (9/11):

  • The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four suicide attacks committed by Muslim extremists against United States civilians on September 11, 2001, coordinated to strike the areas of New York City and Washington, D.C.
  • On that Tuesday morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets.
  • The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours.
  • The hijackers also intentionally crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and intended to pilot the fourth hijacked jet, United Airlines Flight 93, into the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.; however, the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers attempted to take control of the jet from the hijackers.
  • Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, including the 246 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes.
  • Al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives for the attacks.
  • The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaeda.
  • In May 2011, after years at large, bin Laden was located and killed. (from wikipedia)

Deaths:  A total of 411 emergency workers died as they tried to rescue people and fight fires

  • The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost 340 firefighters, a chaplain and 2 paramedics.
  • The New York City Police Department (NYPD) lost 23 officers.
  • The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers.
  • Eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics from private emergency medical services units were killed.

At least 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths from the burning towers (as exemplified in the photograph The Falling Man), landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below.


Watch a live webcast of the commemoration ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York City, starting at 8:30 a.m. EST on September 11, 2013 at:

Visit the Shanksville, PA Memorial website at

Visit the Pentagon Memorial website at

View one man’s story and pictures from 9/11 in New York at

Read “9/11 Reflections: A Look Back” published at the Staten Island Advance.

September 11 TV News archive:

The September 11 Digital Archive:

Visit the NYPD Facebook page

Visit the NYFD Facebook page

On Sept. 11, 2002, President Bush proclaimed Sept 11th be observed as ‘Patriot Day’
(In 2009 President Obama renamed it ‘Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance’.)

Watch a USAA timeline of events on 9/11:

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