Live reading of names returns to Lower Manhattan ceremony honoring victims of terrorist attacks 20 years ago – CBS New York
NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – On the anniversary of September 11, two decades later, families have once again come to this sacred land in Lower Manhattan to remember the 2,753 people who died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
At the ceremony in Lower Manhattan, the names of the thousands of lives lost in the terrorist attacks were read aloud, a tradition that was put on hold last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Six moments of silence meant when the planes struck and when the towers fell.
Full coverage: September 11 twenty years later
President Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden were in attendance, along with the Clintons and Obamas, but the focus was rightly on the 9/11 family members and their heartbreaking loss, loved ones taken by terror.
It was a ceremony unlike in the past. All were solemn and moving, but marking 20 years since the attack resonated deeply.
The speakers had more time to share an anecdote or a memory of their loved ones.
“Your loss had left us all with heartache that nothing will ever heal,” said Rose Aversano, who lost her father in the attack.
“I think it’s important for people to hear the names of their loved ones,” said Geralyn McHugh, who lost a family member in the attacks.
“Keep their memories alive?” CBS2’s Tony Aiello asked.
“Absolutely. And I think it heals. Well, it helps heal,” McHugh said.
Pictures: September 11 twenty years later
Almost 15% of the names represent first responders. Port authority police lost 37 officers. The NYPD lost 23 members. The FDNY lost 343 members, including Michael Kiefer.
Kiefer was only 25 when he died trying to save other people in the South Tower.
Her sister said the twentieth birthday meant little when the loss would be felt a lifetime.
“Twenty years, a year, ten years, it’s still as raw as that day. We never got my brother back. So the pain is still sharp, ”said Kerri Kiefer-Viverito.
FDNY battalion commander John Joseph Fanning was also among those killed. He never met the granddaughter who read his name on Saturday.
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“My hero whom I have never met. I know so much about you because we still talk about you every day, ”said Kyla Fanning.
More than 7,300 days have passed since the attacks.
“Twenty years. It seems like a lifetime but yet yesterday. It doesn’t get any easier,” said Yvonne Salerno, who has lost a family member.
The anniversary brought additional elements to the ceremony, including musical interludes.
One of the most poignant moments came when music legend Bruce Springsteen performed “I’ll See You In My Dreams”.
Family members said the vibe in the plaza was, of course, gloomy, but at the same time heartwarming. They say it is heartwarming to be around other people who understand the special pain of losing a loved one on September 11.
“They cry on your shoulder. They mention their beloved. One minute we are crying and the next minute we are laughing because we start talking about their lives, ”said Edwin Morales.
“A bit like everyone, in a way, reliving the experience, remembering together. It’s that you don’t even really have to talk to everyone to really understand what everyone is feeling, ”said Peter Arboleda.
The ceremony ends with the game of Taps, and for many, a long time in one of the mirrors.
The 20-year mark of a loss that will be felt for a lifetime.
The Tribute in Light, which echoes the shape of the Twin Towers, will remain lit until Sunday. It can be seen from a distance of 60 miles.
Watch the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony
Watch “9/11: Through Their Eyes”
Twenty years after the September 11 attacks, our colleagues from CBS2 are opening up, some for the first time, on the challenges of covering this unforgettable day. Find out about the amazing people they met, the fears they felt and the lessons they learned.
“Through Their Eyes” is a compilation of candid and moving interviews that offer insight into what you haven’t seen and how the attacks have shaped our colleagues personally and professionally.
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Tony Aiello of CBS2 contributed to this report.