Pakistanis hold solemn event as Americans mark Sept 11 attacks
Americans on Friday marked the 19th year since the Sept 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, as a new national crisis — the coronavirus pandemic — reconfigured anniversary ceremonies.
Across the country, flags were flown at half-staff and bells tolled — a sad visual and sombre sound of collective mourning for those killed in America’s deadliest terrorist attack.
The participants, duly masked, observed one-minute silence as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives.
Organized by four Pakistani organization, the event brought together Pakistan-American men who served in hospitals, fire brigades, the army, police and national guard. They were given awards.
Nineteen years ago, passenger jets hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists slammed into New York City’s iconic World Trade Center and the Pentagon, located just outside of the nation’s capital. Another plane crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Smoke and soot strangled the air around the sites for weeks, delivering a huge blow to America’s collective psyche.
In New York, victims’ relatives began gathering early Friday morning for split-screen remembrances, one at the Sept. 11 Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner, set up by a separate 9/11-related organization
Vice President Mike Pence attended both remembrances, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was at the observance on the memorial plaza.
Both men, in dark face masks, bumped elbows and spoke briefly to one another. Biden also elbow bumped – the popular COVID-era handshake replacement – with second lady Karen Pence.
Biden told reporters that Friday was not about politics but instead a national day of mourning.
“I’m not gonna make any news today. I’m not gonna talk about anything other than 9/11,” he told reporters. “We took all our advertising down, it’s a solemn day, and that’s how we’re going to keep it”.