United States, President Obama Pause to Honor Victims of September 11

( [email protected] ) Sep 11, 2014 01:04 PM EDT
911 Memorial Museum - 13th Anniversary
A woman grieves at her husband's inscribed name at the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the 911 attacks at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Chang Lee

On September 11, 2014, the United States somberly remembers the nearly 3,000 people killed in one of the deadliest, most devastating terrorist attacks in history.

At Ground Zero in New York, families gathered to read aloud the names of all those killed when the World Trade Centers collapsed.

Joanne Barbara, whose husband of 30 years, Gerard Barbara, was a FDNY captain who died, urged all to feel for not only the lost but "those who continue to suffer from the aftermath."

"May God bless America, and may we never, never forget," she said.

"Thirteen years later, it seems like yesterday," said John Cartier, whose brother James' motorcycle is on display at the National September 11 Museum. "With each passing day, it still hurts."

US President Barack Obama on 9/11
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) bows his head as he listens to proceedings during a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon in Washington September 11, 2014. Beside him is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

At the Pentagon, the national anthem played as President Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faced a prominent American flag that hung on the rebuilt wall of the Pentagon.

After beginning his speech with Scripture and remembrances, Mr. Obama laid a wreath at the site where the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the United States Department of Defense on the western side of the building, killing 184 people.

"Thirteen years since the peace of an American morning was broken," he said, speaking to family members of victims and a few survivors. "Thirteen years of moments they would have shared with us."

However, the President added a positive note, saying, "There are now teenagers, young adults, who were born after 9/11. It's remarkable," he said. "Generations from now, no matter the trial, no matter the challenge, America will always be America."

And the United States will not soon forget the events of that day. For the first time, the National September 11 Museum, which includes sobering artifacts and graphic photos of the attacks, will be open on the anniversary.

911 Memorial Museum - 13th Anniversary
An American flag is seen placed in an inscribed name at the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the 911 attacks at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, September 11 2014. REUTERS/Justin Lane

Fences around the memorial plaza have also come down, opening it up to the public to pay their respects. Finally, a new building stands where the towers fell, as One World Trade Center stands 1,776 feet above ground zero.

"When I first saw (One World Trade Center), it really made my heart sing," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles Burlingame was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. "It does every time I see it because it's so symbolic of what the country went through."

"I want to see it bustling," she said. "I want to see more housing down there; I want to see it alive and bursting with businesses."

911, Memorial Service
People visit the 9/11 memorial in Exchange Place, New Jersey September 10, 2014. Standing across the Hudson River is the newly constructed One World Trade Tower in lower Manhattan. Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

To commemorate the lives lost in the attacks, the Tribute in Light has returned to lower Manhattan. The twin beams are a symbolic recreation of the Twin Towers.

For the first time, the public will be allowed to view the lights from the 9/11 memorial plaza, from 6 p.m. until midnight.

"I can't bring my loved one back," said Anna Fowler, whose son, Jeremy, was among those killed. "But when myself and other families see the nation grieving with us and honoring our loved ones, we are thankful and moved beyond comprehension. May we never forget."