WASHINGTON — There’s a reason the words “Never Forget” resound on each anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. As Americans look back on the horror and legacy of that fateful day, they seek to show the families of the nearly 3,000 people killed that although their loved ones are gone, they will never be forgotten.
The sound of Taps being played at the Pentagon amid a flag being unfurled were just a few of the signs the nation was still mourning the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil 22 years later.
Remembrances stretched from the East Coast to the West as Americans grieved together for the thousands of people who were killed when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.
“We will always honor the memory of our fallen teammates,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said. “We will always strive to be worthy of the memory of those we lost.”
In New York City, the skies where the twin towers once stood are once again visible in a tribute. Two bright beams shining from where the towers once stood can be seen at night for miles.
Officially, 2,753 people died at the World Trade Center that day. On Monday, their names are read aloud at the memorial site.
In recent years, a new generation is honoring those killed, many of whom weren’t alive 22 years ago.
At an annual ceremony in Lower Manhattan for the reading of each victim’s name, dignitaries including Vice President Kamala Harris, New York’s governor, New York City’s mayor, and one U.S. senator stood with still-grieving families.
A child’s voice honored the family hero she never met.
“And for my uncle, firefighter Jimmy Riches, even though I never got to meet you, I will never forget you,” she said.
In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, they were remembering the crew and passengers of United Flight 93, whose bravery prevented an even greater disaster.
One chaplain offered a prayer for those still struggling with the loss that changed America.
“I thank you for the comfort given to those who have lost friends and loved ones,” said Chaplain Col. Tim Maracle of the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region. “On that fateful day. And how you continue to give peace to those who seek it.”
President Joe Biden also offered words of comfort. On the social media site ‘X’ he wrote, “The American story itself changed on this day 22 years ago. But what could not — and will not — change is the character of this nation.”
9/11 families are still receiving closure in the form of their loved one’s positive identifications, some of which have taken decades to solve. Authorities confirmed the identification of two people who died in the attack just days ahead of this anniversary.
Their names were withheld by city officials at the request of their families.
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