NEW YORK — On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four planes and carried out attacks against several targets, including the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan; nearly 3,000 people were killed and thousands more were injured.
Twenty years later, many first responders and civilians who were working or were around the toxic conditions continue to deal with health issues or have since died.
Family members of victims gather on the Memorial Plaza — like past years — to read aloud the names of those killed two decades ago.
Watch memorial ceremony in video below:
Last year’s events were altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program officially began at 8:30 a.m. Names were read out, and there were six moments of silence — the first observed at 8:46 a.m.
Houses of worship were encouraged to toll their bells at that time.
Presidents Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton all gathered at the site where the World Trade Center towers fell two decades ago. They each wore blue ribbons and held their hands over their hearts as a procession marched a flag through the memorial, watched by hundreds of Americans gathered for the remembrance, some carrying photos of loved ones lost in the attacks.
Before the event began, a jet flew overhead in an eerie echo of the attacks, drawing a glance from Biden toward the sky.
Biden was a senator when hijackers commandeered four planes and executed the attack. Now he marks the 9/11 anniversary for the first time as commander in chief.
The president will spend Saturday paying his respects at the trio of sites where the planes crashed, but he left the speech-making to others.
Associated Press contributed to this report.