NEW YORK — Americans looked back Monday on 9/11 with moments of silence, tearful words and appeals to teach younger generations about the terror attacks 22 years ago.
“For those of us who lost people on that day, that day is still happening. Everybody else moves on. And you find a way to go forward, but that day is always happening for you,” Edward Edelman said as he arrived at New York’s World Trade Center to honor his slain brother-in-law, Daniel McGinley.
President Joe Biden, speaking at a military base in Anchorage, Ala., urged Americans to rally around protecting democracy. His visit, en route to Washington from a trip to India and Vietnam, is a reminder that the impact of 9/11 was felt in every corner of the nation, however remote.
“We know that on this day, every American’s heart was wounded,” Biden said. “Yet every big city, small town, suburb, rural town, tribal community — American hands went up, ready to help where they could.”
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes crashed into the trade center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, in an attack that reshaped American foreign policy and domestic fears.
On that day, “we were one country, one nation, one people, just like it should be,” Eddie Ferguson, the fire-rescue chief in Virginia’s Goochland County, said by phone before the anniversary.
The predominantly rural county of 25,000 people has a Sept. 11 memorial and holds two anniversary commemorations, one focused on first responders and another honoring all the victims.
At ground zero, Vice President Kamala Harris joined other dignitaries at the ceremony on the National Sept. 11 Memorial plaza. Instead of remarks from political figures, the event features victims reading the names of the dead and delivering brief personal messages.
Some included patriotic declarations about American values and thanked first responders and the military. One lauded the Navy SEALs who killed al-Qaida leader and 9/11 plotter Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. Another appealed for peace and justice. One acknowledged the many lives lost in the post-9/11 “War on Terror.” And many shared reflections on missing loved ones.
“Though we never met, I am honored to carry your name and legacy with me,” said Manuel João DaMota Jr., who was born after his father and namesake died.
To Gabrielle Gabrielli, reading names “is the biggest honor of my life.” She lost her uncle and godfather, Richard Gabrielle.
“We have to keep the memory of everybody who died alive. This is their legacy,” Gabrielli said, heading into the ceremony.