With simple and solemn ceremony, the United States marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Sunday in emotional tributes that recalled the sacrifice of thousands of lives, not just on that day a decade ago, but in the bloody conflicts that have raged since.
Americans of every stripe, from presidents to firefighters to average citizens, paused to honor the dead in churches, at the sites of the attacks, and in living rooms across the country. Church bells rang. Prayers were read aloud. Choirs sang.
In New York, the focus was on those killed in the World Trade Center, their names now engraved on bronze panels that will long bear witness to the tragedy.
In Pennsylvania, it was on the passengers who sacrificed their lives seizing United Flight 93 from terrorists before it could hit the Capitol or White House.
And at the Pentagon in Virginia, eyes moistened at the memory not only of the 184 killed there, but also for the 6,000-plus members of the armed services who’ve died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Throughout, there was sense of quiet resolve, even pride that the United States did not buckle as terror mastermind Osama bin Laden had hoped.
“Al Qaida and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 would inspire three million to put on the uniform and hardened the resolve of 300 million Americans,” Vice President Joe Biden said at the Pentagon.
“We have remained at war ever since,” said Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “visiting upon our enemies the vengeance they were due.”
At a memorial concert Sunday night at the Kennedy Center, the last official event of the long day of remembrance, President Barack Obama recalled “what has not changed.”
“Our character as a nation has not changed. Our faith — in God and each other — has not changed. Our belief in America...has only been strengthened, “ ...