18 years later, America vows to 'never forget' 9/11

  • A man holds a photo of a victim during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in New York.

    A man holds a photo of a victim during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in New York. Associated Press

  • A woman stands next to the north pool prior to a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York.

    A woman stands next to the north pool prior to a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pause after placing a wreath and will participate in a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Pentagon.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pause after placing a wreath and will participate in a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Pentagon. Associated Press

  • Louis Gonzalez makes a rubbing of his sister's name at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. Aida Rosario was killed during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    Louis Gonzalez makes a rubbing of his sister's name at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. Aida Rosario was killed during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Pentagon.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Pentagon. Associated Press

  • A U.S. flag hanging from a steel girder, damaged in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, blows in the breeze at a memorial in Jersey City, N.J., Sept. 11, 2019 as the sun rises behind One World Trade Center building and the re-developed area where the Twin Towers of World Trade Center once stood in New York City on the 18th anniversary of the attacks.

    A U.S. flag hanging from a steel girder, damaged in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, blows in the breeze at a memorial in Jersey City, N.J., Sept. 11, 2019 as the sun rises behind One World Trade Center building and the re-developed area where the Twin Towers of World Trade Center once stood in New York City on the 18th anniversary of the attacks. Associated Press

  • Family members hold up photos during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York.

    Family members hold up photos during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. Associated Press

  • A woman wipes away tears as she stands next to the north pool prior to a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York.

    A woman wipes away tears as she stands next to the north pool prior to a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. Associated Press

  • The names are read of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York.

    The names are read of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary at the National September 11 Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in New York. Associated Press

  • New York City firefighters stand at attention in front of a memorial on the side of a firehouse adjacent to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site during ceremonies commemorating the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

    New York City firefighters stand at attention in front of a memorial on the side of a firehouse adjacent to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site during ceremonies commemorating the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Associated Press

  • New York City firefighters salute in front of a memorial on the side of a firehouse adjacent to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site during ceremonies on the 18th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

    New York City firefighters salute in front of a memorial on the side of a firehouse adjacent to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site during ceremonies on the 18th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Associated Press

  • In this Sept. 9, 2019 photo, the World Trade Center is shown in New York. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States.

    In this Sept. 9, 2019 photo, the World Trade Center is shown in New York. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States. Associated Press

  • The Tribute in Light rises above the lower Manhattan skyline, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in New York. Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks against the United States of Sept. 11, 2001.

    The Tribute in Light rises above the lower Manhattan skyline, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in New York. Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks against the United States of Sept. 11, 2001. Associated Press

  • Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., participate in a sunset memorial service on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, as the nation prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., participate in a sunset memorial service on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, as the nation prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Associated Press

  • Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., participate in a sunset memorial service on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, as the nation prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., participate in a sunset memorial service on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, as the nation prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Associated Press

  • A visitor to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., views the Wall of Names on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, as the nation prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    A visitor to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., views the Wall of Names on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, as the nation prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Associated Press

  • New York Fire Department members attend a second funeral service for FDNY firefighter Michael Haub in Franklin Square, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The firefighter from New York's Long Island who died in the World Trade Center attacks is being remembered for a second time on the eve of the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Friends and family gathered at the memorial service for Haub on Tuesday in Franklin Square. Last week, the New York City medical examiner identified more of his remains recovered at ground zero.

    New York Fire Department members attend a second funeral service for FDNY firefighter Michael Haub in Franklin Square, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The firefighter from New York's Long Island who died in the World Trade Center attacks is being remembered for a second time on the eve of the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Friends and family gathered at the memorial service for Haub on Tuesday in Franklin Square. Last week, the New York City medical examiner identified more of his remains recovered at ground zero. Associated Press

  • Kiersten Haub, from left, Erika Starke, and Michael Haub, family members of New York firefighter Michael Haub, attend a second funeral service for him in Franklin Square, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The firefighter from New York's Long Island who died in the World Trade Center attacks is being remembered for a second time on the eve of the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Friends and family gathered at the memorial service for Haub on Tuesday in Franklin Square. Last week, the New York City medical examiner identified more of his remains recovered at ground zero.

    Kiersten Haub, from left, Erika Starke, and Michael Haub, family members of New York firefighter Michael Haub, attend a second funeral service for him in Franklin Square, N.Y., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The firefighter from New York's Long Island who died in the World Trade Center attacks is being remembered for a second time on the eve of the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Friends and family gathered at the memorial service for Haub on Tuesday in Franklin Square. Last week, the New York City medical examiner identified more of his remains recovered at ground zero. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers in New York City. Sept. 11 victims’ relatives are greeting the news of President Donald Trump’s now-canceled plan for secret talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents with mixed feelings.

    FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers in New York City. Sept. 11 victims’ relatives are greeting the news of President Donald Trump’s now-canceled plan for secret talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents with mixed feelings. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, firefighters work beneath the destroyed mullions, the vertical struts that once faced the outer walls of the World Trade Center towers, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York. Sept. 11 victims’ relatives are greeting the news of President Donald Trump’s now-canceled plan for secret talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents with mixed feelings.

    FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, firefighters work beneath the destroyed mullions, the vertical struts that once faced the outer walls of the World Trade Center towers, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York. Sept. 11 victims’ relatives are greeting the news of President Donald Trump’s now-canceled plan for secret talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents with mixed feelings. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/11/2019 11:03 AM

NEW YORK -- People who were too young on 9/11 to even remember their lost loved ones, and others for whom the grief is still raw, paid tribute with wreath-layings and the solemn roll call of the dead Wednesday as America marked the 18th anniversary of the worst terror attack on U.S. soil.

"As long as the city will gift us this moment, I will be here," Margie Miller, who lost her husband, Joel, said as she attended the ground zero anniversary ceremony, as she has every year. "I want people to remember."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

President Donald Trump laid a wreath at the Pentagon, telling victims' relatives there: "This is your anniversary of personal and permanent loss."

"It's the day that has replayed in your memory a thousand times over. The last kiss. The last phone call. The last time hearing those precious words, 'I love you,'" the president said.

Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the third site where planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, Vice President Mike Pence credited the crew and passengers who fought back against the hijackers with protecting him and others in the U.S. Capitol that day.

"I will always believe that I and many others in our nation's capital were able to go home that day and hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of your families," said Pence, who was an Indiana congressman at the time. Officials concluded the attackers had been aiming the plane toward Washington.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when terrorist-piloted planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.

For families like Mary Ann Marino's, "18 years has not lessened our loss," she told those gathered at ground zero after she read part of the long list of victims' names. She lost her son, firefighter Kenneth Marino.

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Parboti Parbhu choked up as she spoke from the podium about her slain sister, Hardai. Even after nearly two decades, "There's no easy way to say goodbye," she said.

By now, the heritage of grief has been handed down to a new generation, including children and young adults who knew their lost relatives barely or not at all.

Jacob Campbell was 10 months old when his mother, Jill Maurer-Campbell, died on 9/11.

"It's interesting growing up in a generation that doesn't really remember it. I feel a connection that no one I go to school with can really understand," Campbell, a University of Michigan sophomore, said as he attended the ceremony.

Like the families, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath of Sept. 11. The effects are visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan, where the post-9/11 U.S. invasion has become America's longest war. The aim was to dislodge Afghanistan's then-ruling Taliban militants for harboring al-Qaida leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Earlier this week, Trump called off a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan government leaders and declared the peace talks "dead." As the Sept. 11 anniversary began in Afghanistan, a rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy just after midnight, with no injuries reported.

The politics of 9/11 flowed into the ground zero ceremony, too.

After reading victims' names, Nicholas Haros Jr. used his turn at the podium to tear into Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota over her recent "Some people did something" reference to 9/11.

"Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done," Haros, who lost his mother, Frances, said as he reminded the audience of the al-Qaida attackers.

"Our constitutional freedoms were attacked, and our nation's founding on Judeo-Christian values was attacked. That's what 'some people' did. Got that now?" he said to applause.

Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has said she didn't intend to minimize what happened on Sept. 11, and accused critics of taking her words out of context. She tweeted Wednesday that "September 11th was an attack on all of us."

The dead included Muslims, as Zaheda Rahman underscored after reading names at ground zero. She called her uncle, Abul Chowdhury, a "proud Muslim-American man who lived his life with a carefree nature, a zeal for adventure and a tenacity which I emulate every single day."

Others made a point of spotlighting the suffering of firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after being exposed to the smoke and dust at ground zero.

A compensation fund for people with potentially Sept. 11-related health problems has paid out more than $5.5 billion so far. More than 51,000 people have applied. Over the summer, Congress made sure the fund won't run dry. The sick also gained new recognition this year at the World Trade Center site, where a memorial glade was dedicated this spring.

Sept. 11 has become known also as a day of service. People around the country volunteer at food banks, schools, home-building projects, park cleanups and other community events around the anniversary.

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Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed.

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