At the ceremonies on the 19th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks looked different that year amid a pandemic that has unmistakably changed American rituals.
When flags were waved at the National Memorial & Museum in New York on September 11th to commemorate the nearly 3,000 victims, this year’s ceremony was marked by harrowing losses and precautionary measures against coronavirus.
Participants at the construction site wore masks, greeted each other with elbow bumps rather than handshakes, and stood 6 feet apart.
Instead of relatives reading the names of the dead, a recording of the names of speakers was played in the huge plaza – a change that the memorial officers believed would avoid close contact on stage and allow families to reach out to their loved ones Place to remember where they died.
Families who are present as in previous years have exclusive access to the museum on September 11th. In early March the memorial and museum closed, and only the memorial reopened in July.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attended the national memorial ceremony at Ground Zero on Friday morning along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vice President Mike Pence. Biden and President Donald Trump are expected to attend the ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Friday.
Before traveling from Delaware to New York, Biden told reporters on Friday morning, “I’m not going to be doing any news today. I won’t be talking about anything other than September 11th. We’ve all turned off our ads, it’s a festive day, and that’s how we’ll keep it. “
President Donald Trump made a comment on Friday morning – without a face mask – at the memorial in Shanksville that one of the hijacked planes crashed in a field, killing everyone on board.
“To every 9/11 member across the nation, the First Lady and I come to this sacred ground, deeply aware that we cannot fill the void in your heart or erase the terrible sadness of that day,” Trump said . “Although we cannot remove your pain, we can help you carry your burden.”
In his remarks, Trump honored first responders who died in the attacks and passengers who resisted the hijackers from Flight 93. He also mentioned the deaths under his administration of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, both of whom were killed last year.
“Less than a year ago, American warriors defeated the savage killer and leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi,” he said. “Soon after, our warriors ended the brutal reign of the Iranian butcher who murdered thousands of American soldiers – the world’s best terrorist Qassem Soleimani is dead.”
Biden, who is expected to stay out of politics for the day, will visit Shanksville later that afternoon with his wife, Jill Biden.
Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff held a September 11th reminder Friday morning outside the Public Safety Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.
Harris, dressed in a black mask, paid tribute to the victims and first responders. She described how Americans acted with love and courage on September 11th and in the days following the tragedy.
“What our attackers failed to understand is that the darkness they hoped would envelop us on September 11th, instead, evokes our most radiant and defined human instincts – the instinct to care for one another, to overcome our divisions and seeing ourselves as fellow citizens rush towards danger and risk everything to protect one another, the instinct to unite, “she said.
“If we have learned anything from watching the heroes of September 11th, it is that the strength of the human spirit knows no bounds and that even the greatest threats against us are only used to reveal our true strength.”
Elisha Fieldstadt contributed.