NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of 9/11 victims’ relatives, survivors, rescuers and others gathered Monday at the World Trade Center memorial to mark the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks that changed the nation.
Family members will once again read the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 attacks along the footprint of where the Twin Towers once stood.
The commemoration ceremony will pause six times. Twice to mark the times each plane hit the towers, twice for the moments when they fell and two more times to mark the attacks on the Pentagon and Flight 93.
The September 11 Memorial and Museum opened solely for family members at 7 a.m., bearing solemn witness to the attacks of that fateful day, those who died and the people who risked their lives to save others.
For many making the annual pilgrimage to Ground Zero on this 16th anniversary, the pain will still be very raw. But the hope is they will take some comfort in the museum’s testament to the triumph of human dignity over human depravity and in being surrounded by new signs of strength at the site.
Three out of the five buildings, including One, Four and Seven World Trade, are now open and occupied with residents and businesses alike. According to the Downtown Alliance, 61,000 people now live in the neighborhood, triple the number in 2000, helping to transform the site of America’s worst horrors into a symbol of rebirth.
An honor guard made up of individuals representing the FDNY, NYPD, and Port Authority Police Department will also participate in Monday’s ceremony.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is scheduled to observe a moment of silence at about the time the first airplane hit. The White House said he is to be joined by first lady Melania Trump.
He also planned to participate in a 9/11 observance at the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are hosting a private observance for victims’ relatives there at 9:11 a.m. Monday. After the names are read at that ceremony, there’s a public observance, with a wreath-laying and remarks.
Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke are scheduled to deliver remarks at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville. It’s on the rural field where one of the airliners crashed after passengers and crew fought to wrest control away from the terrorists who’d hijacked it and were heading for Washington.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)