It was 17 years ago today that our country changed forever. For a brief moment, the world was united – and we all grieved the loss of nearly three-thousand people following a horrific series of terror attacks. Across the country, there will be a number of services, but perhaps none will be more poignant than those planned for the three sites where the attacks took place: New York City, Shanksville Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.
People who were killed during the 9/11 terror attacks will be honored at Ground Zero this morning. A commemoration ceremony is being held beginning at 8:30 a.m. The names of those who died will be read aloud. Family and friends will be in attendance to remember loved ones. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are scheduled to appear at the ceremony. The ceremony will pause at six moments to mark the times that each plane hit the towers, when each tower fell and to mark the moments of the attacks on the Pentagon and on Flight 93. Later in the day, the Port Authority will hold their annual remembrance service to remember their 84 employees who died.
President Trump will visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville – and it’s expected he’ll be joined by First Lady Melania Trump. The memorial is a tribute to those who perished when passengers helped bring down a hijacked airliner that was thought to be aimed at Washington, DC. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will also attend.
At the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the annual 9-11 observance there. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will also deliver remarks, honoring those who died when another hijacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon.
The number of New York City firefighters who have died from illnesses related to the 9-11 terrorist attacks keeps climbing. There were 343 firefighters who died on September 11th 2001, but 182 have passed away since and more than one-thousand have either cancer or respiratory problems. But it’s not just firefighters that have been affected. As of August 31st, the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund has awarded more than $4.3-billion to the 20,874 claimants deemed eligible for compensation.