America Pauses To Remember 9/11

It was five years ago, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was in South America. Congressional Republicans were getting ready to push for more tax cuts.

Elizabeth Dole was expected to announce her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Basketball was buzzing with news that Michael Jordan had all but confirmed he would return as a player.

But on the morning of Sept. 11, everything changed.

Two hijacked jetliners crashed into New York's World Trade Center, causing the twin towers to fall. A commandeered jetliner smashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in western Pennsylvania after the passengers rose up against the hijackers.

In all, nearly 3,000 people died in what was the worst single act of terrorism on U.S. soil.

And today, people around the world are remembering the events of that day.

From a pit where the World Trade Center once stood, to a field in Shanksville, Pa., all across America today, people will reflect on what happened Sept. 11.

In New York, people are observing four moments of silence, at 8:46, 9:03, 9:59 and 10:29 a.m. EDT, the times when jetliners struck each of the twin towers, and when each tower fell. The ceremony at ground zero stopped for two moments of silence. Two more will follow.

Spouses and partners of the 2,749 people who died at the trade center are reading the names of the victims, paying special tribute to their loved one.

Family members held up signs reading "You will always be with us" and "Never forget." Sniffles and quiet sobs could be heard as the moments of silence were observed. Some people crossed themselves and wiped away tears.

Lee Hanson said he was going to spend the day remembering his granddaughter's smile. The 2 ˝ -year-old child was on the second plane that hit the World Trade Center. She was the youngest victim on Sept. 11.

Other memorials are planned, too. In Muncie, Ind., there will be a service at a funeral home that features a Sept. 11 garden with twin glass towers that light up at night.

President George W. Bush is starting his day in New York, before attending remembrances at the other crash sites: the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville.

He begins the day with a breakfast at a New York City firehouse near Ground Zero where the Twin Towers were knocked down by two of the hijacked jetliners. He'll observe moments of silence at 8:46 and 9:03 a.m. EDT, the times when the jets hit.

Later in the day, the president will be in Shanksville, where another of the hijacked planes slammed to the ground. And he'll lay a wreath at the Pentagon, which was also a target that day. Tonight he'll address the nation from the Oval Office.

Bush said he wishes he could somehow "make whole" the families still grieving, but he said the anniversary provides fresh resolve in trying to prevent terrorists from striking American again.

Bush said Sunday that he and his wife, Laura, faced the anniversary "with a heavy heart."

The president and first lady laid wreaths at Ground Zero in New York Sunday, attended a prayer service, then greeted firefighters.

Bush called the anniversary "a day of renewing resolve" and said he's vowed to never "forget the lessons of that day." He said there's "still an enemy out there who would like to inflict the same kind of damage again."

Remembering In Shanksville

Carol Fritz was just 10 years old when a hijacked United Airlines flight crashed into a field in Shanksville.

She didn't know anyone on the plane, and didn't understand everything that was happening back then, but said she had to come to Shanksville Monday so she could tell her children and grandchildren that, "I was here."

Flight 93 was hijacked after takeoff from Newark, N.J. It's believed the hijackers planned to crash the plane into the White House or Capitol and that passengers rushed the cockpit in an effort to stop them.

The field where the plane crashed is blocked by a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence covered with American flags, firefighter helmets and drawings by children.

Congress To Gather On Capitol Steps

Members of Congress will mark the anniversary with another bipartisan gathering on the steps of the Capitol building.

Five years ago, dozens of lawmakers gathered there and sang "God Bless America" to show that the government was intact and unified. Lawmakers will put aside their differences over national security to do that again this evening.

Attendance might be a little lower than it was five years ago. Many lawmakers are back home campaigning for reelection and attending local events marking the anniversary.

Many lawmakers think the hijackers of United Flight 93 intended to crash the jet into the Capitol or the White House. The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania when the passengers fought back.

Washington Remembers Those Lost

The nation's capital is remembering those it lost on Sept. 11.

Thousands of people walked from the National Mall to the Pentagon on the eve of the five-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Sunday's Freedom Walk, sponsored by the Defense Department, was one of more than 120 walks organized in cities in all 50 states.

The walk was led by students and faculty at three local elementary schools who lost classmates and teachers on Sept. 11. The six were on their way to a field trip on American Airlines Flight 77 when it smashed into the side of the Pentagon.

At the Pentagon, 184 beams of light were illuminated in the courtyard to honor each victim who perished when a hijacked jetliner struck the building. They will stay lit until Monday night.

U.S. Troops In Afghanistan Remember

U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan have taken time to remember Sept. 11.

Afghanistan's Taliban regime had given safe haven to attack-mastermind Osama bin Laden and was toppled by U.S. troops weeks later.

At the main U.S. base in Kabul Monday, soldiers unveiled a plaque commemorating the Sept. 11 victims and laid a wreath in front of it.

Among those speaking at the memorial service was a soldier who was in the Pentagon when a hijacked plane crashed into it on that day five years ago. Staff Sgt. Alicia Watkins said what stays with her is the resilience of the American people despite the horrors of the day.

The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said there has been progress since the invasion. Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry acknowledges the recent upsurge in violence but said he doesn't think it will hamper reconstruction.

Eikenberry said U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan until "the Afghan people tell us our job is done."

Ceremonies Worldwide

Bells tolled in Rome's city hall square. And bouquets of white roses and yellow carnations were stacked in a memorial garden in London where the names of 67 Britons killed in the New York attacks are inscribed.

The world is remembering Sept. 11 with bowed heads -- and some simmering resentment toward the United States.

Leaders attending a 38-nation Asia-Europe summit in Finland stood in silence in a circle for a solemn tribute.

But Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel is merging her remembrance and call for "international cooperation" with veiled criticism of U.S. military action and counter-terror tactics. She said, "The ends cannot justify the means."

And New Zealand's prime minister said the world is "not more secure since 9/11." Helen Clark is calling for outreach to moderate Islamic states and leaders to foster greater understanding.

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Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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