…Biden Says Memorials Important, but Difficult
The United States of America has been reflecting on the fateful day 20 years ago, now known as 9/11.
Four hijacked planes crashed in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The nearly 3,000 dead have been remembered at the three crash sites
‘The world went quiet with missing voices’ former President George Bush told mourners in Pennsylvania
Relatives of victims read aloud the names of their loved ones at a New York ceremony.
Six moments of silence punctuated the reading, to mark the times the planes crashed and buildings fell
The repercussions of the attack by al-Qaeda are still being felt around the world.
President Biden has just spoken to reporters ahead of his departure from Shanksville to Washington, where he’s expected to visit the Pentagon.
“These memorials are really important, but they’re also incredibly difficult for the people affected by them, because it brings back the moment they got the phone call, it brings back the instant they got the news, no matter how years go by,” Biden said.
Joseph Pfeifer, Battalion Chief of the New York City Fire Department, told the BBC about his experiences on that day. He first featured in the National Geographic documentary 9/11: One Day in America
“We were attending a routine gas emergency in the area. And at 08:46 we heard the loud noise of a plane coming overhead, and then I saw the plane aim and crash into the World Trade Center. I was the first fire service commander on the scene.
“Every first responder, when we saw the burning towers, knew this was the most dangerous fire of our lives. Everyone made their own personal decision to go in.
“I thought I might die when the North Tower collapsed. It was so confusing that we didn’t know at that point the South Tower had gone down already. But at that moment someone yelled, ‘the building is collapsing,’ and I started to run. You don’t run too far with helmets and bunker coat and pants and boots, in 11 seconds.
“We wound up ducking behind a small van, and then this beautiful summer day goes completely dark, where you can’t see anything. We hear steel crashing all around us, and glass and then things go quiet. And in the darkness, I wondered if I was still alive.
“My brother Kevin was a lieutenant in the fire service, and that day we stood just maybe a meter apart and we looked at each other. He didn’t say a word, it was just a quiet moment for a few seconds, and then I ordered him up to evacuate the building and to rescue those that were trapped.
“That was the last time I saw him.”