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US marks 9/11 with somber words; Trump speaks at the PA site

A woman cries only when she leans against a tree during a ceremony marking the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, in the World Trade Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK – Americans looked back on the 9/11 attacks Tuesday with solemn ceremonies, volunteering and a presidential tribute to “the moment when America fought back on one of the hijacked planes used as weapons in the deadliest terrorist attack on AMERICAN soil.

Thousands of 9/11 victims ‘ relatives, survivors, rescuers, and others who gathered on a foggy Tuesday morning in the memorial plaza, where the World Trade Center twin towers once stood. President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence on the way to the two other sites where hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001: a Pennsylvania field and the Pentagon.

Seventeen years after the loss of her husband, Margie Miller went to the New York City ceremony of her house in a suburb of Baldwin.

“For me he is here. This is my holy place,” she said before the hours-long reading of the names of the nearly 3000 dead, including her husband, Joel Miller.

The president and the first lady Melania in a compliance on the Sept. 11 memorial in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the aircraft fell to the ground after 40 passengers and crew members realized the hijackers had taken control and tried to storm the cockpit.

Called it “the moment when America fought back,” Trump said the case “took control of their destiny and changed the course of history.”

They “along with the immortal ranks of the American heroes,” said Trump.

Pence remembered the heroism of the service members and civilians who repeatedly back into the Pentagon to rescue survivors.

The terrorists “hoping to break our spirit, and they are not,” he said.

The 9/11 memorial are now well-known rituals that are focused on the reading of the names of the dead. But every year at ground zero, the families of the victims pull the ceremony with personal messages of remembrance, inspiration and care.

For Nicholas Haros Jr., relating to officials that make comparisons to 9/11 or invoke it for political purposes.

“Stop. Stop, ” pleaded Haros, who lost his 76-year-old mother, Frances. “Stop the use of the bones and the ashes of our loved ones as props in your political theater. Their lives, their sacrifices, and victims are worth so much more. Let’s not trivialize.”

This year is the anniversary comes as a heated mid-term election cycle begins in a higher gear. But there are already a long time a number of efforts to separate from the solemn anniversary of the policy. The group’s 9/11 Day, that promotes volunteering at a birthday party in 2009, routinely asks candidates not to campaign or run political ads for the day. The organizers of the ground zero ceremony to allow politicians to attend, but they are time-barred, since 2011, of the reading of names, or the supply of notes.

If that is not the political speeches, a number of relatives of the victims made an appeal to the patriotism and the support for the military and first responders as they read names. Mary Ann Marino said that her family is humbled by the actions of first responders when her husband, firefighter Kenneth Marino, but “our hearts still pain for what must have been.”

Other family members revealed the toll of their losses had taken over their families. Thomas Langer said his brother, Timmy, “drank himself to death” about the sadness of the loss of his wife, Vanessa and their unborn child on Sept. 11.

“I saw my brother endure the pain that no one man was ever meant to carry,” Thomas Langer said, adding that he had struggled with despair himself.

Sept. 11 still shapes American policy, politics and the everyday experiences in the place, from airports to office buildings, even if it is less of a constant presence in the public consciousness after 17 years.

A stark reminder came not long after last year’s anniversary: A truck mowed down people, killing eight, on a bike path within a few blocks of the World Trade Center on Halloween.

In December, a candidate to commit suicide with a pipe bomb in a subway passageway near Times Square, authorities said. She said suspects in both attacks were inspired by the Islamic State extremist group.

The recent attacks scare Ruben Perez, who read the names at the trade center Tuesday.

“I get very concerned about the state of the society. … It is a part of what it means to be human in the 21st century, a fear for the safety of the public,” said Perez, who was 6 when his uncle, Calixto Anaya Jr., perished in the 9/11 attacks.

Memorials for 9/11 grow in Shanksville, where the Tower of Voices will ultimately consist of a wind chime for each of the 40 people killed there, and ground zero, where the work is to start soon on a path in honor of rescue and recovery workers.

It will serve as a way to honor those who became ill or died from exposure to toxic substances released when the Trade Center twin towers collapsed. Researchers have documented increased rates of respiratory disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other diseases among the people who spent time in the rubble.

About 38,500 people have applied to a compensation fund, and more than $3.9 billion in claims have been approved.

Meanwhile, a subway station destroyed on 9/11, finally reopened on Saturday. In June, the doors opened in the 80-story 3 World Trade Center, one of the many rebuilt office towers that were built or planned on the site.

Survivors, evolved and grown.

“Although I never met you,” Isabella Del Corral said of her slain grandfather, Joseph Piskadlo, “I will never forget you.”

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Associated Press writers Stephen Groves and Michael R. Sisak in New York, Darlene Superville in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Lolita C. Baldor at the Pentagon contributed to this report.

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