The United States marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with pleas for unity in solemn ceremonies that were further resonated by the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the return to power of the Taliban.
At the September 11 memorial in New York, family members wiped away tears, their voices breaking as they read the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks, the deadliest in US history.
The service at “Ground Zero,” where most died, some of whom jumped to their deaths from the burning towers of the World Trade Center, was carried out under tight security, with Lower Manhattan effectively closed.
The first of the six moments of silence was marked at 8:46 a.m., with a bell ringing to symbolize the moment the first hijacked plane crashed into the North Tower.
At 9:03 am, the attendees stopped again to mark the moment the South Tower was hit. At 9:37 am, it was the Pentagon, where the hijacked plane killed 184 people on the plane and on the ground.
At 9:59 am, the moment the South Tower fell. At 10:03 a.m., they recalled the fourth plane that crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers fought off hijackers. And at 10:28 am, the North Tower falling.
The memorials are held less than two weeks since the last American soldiers left Kabul, ending the so-called “eternal war.”