The Americans commemorate the 11th of September with sad ceremonies, voluntary service, appeals to "never forget" and growing attention to the extended tribute of terrorist attacks on rescuers.
A crowd of relatives of the victims is expected at ground zero Wednesday, while President Donald Trump is scheduled to join a Pentagon observance. Vice President Mike Pence will be speaking at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Eighteen years after the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil, the nation is still struggling with the consequences on the ground, in Congress and beyond. The consequences of the attacks are visible from the security checkpoints of airports in Afghanistan. A missile exploded at the US embassy at the start of the anniversary in Afghanistan, where a post-9-11 invasion became America's longest war.
"People say," Why are you here, year after year? "" Chundera Epps, a sister of the victim Christopher Epps of September 11th, told the ceremony last year at the World Trade Center. "Because the soldiers are still dying for our freedom. The first rescuers are still dying and getting sick. "
"We cannot forget. Life will not make us forget," he added.
The ceremonies for the anniversary centered on remembering the nearly 3,000 people killed when hijacked planes crashed into the mall, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville on September 11th 2001. All the names of those victims they are read aloud at the zero ceremony, where moments of silence and ringing bells mark the moments when the plane has crashed and the twin towers of the shopping center have fallen.
But in the last few years there has been a growing awareness of the suffering of another group of people linked to the tragedy: firefighters, police and others who have died or become ill after the exposure to the wreck and the toxins triggered in it.
While research continues whether these diseases are linked to the toxins of September 11th, a compensation fund for victims of people with health problems potentially related to September 11th has so far allocated over 5.5 billion dollars. Over 51,000 people applied.
After years of legislative congestion, reduction of money in the fund and fervent activism on the part of the first rescuers and their supporters, the Congress of this summer has made sure that the fund does not end. Trump, Republican and New Yorker who was in the city on September 11th, signed the measure in July.
The sick received a new award this year in the ground zero memorial square, where the new Memorial Glade of September 11 was dedicated this spring.
The tribute presents six large piles of granite inlaid with steel from the recovered shopping center, with a dedication "to those whose actions in our time of need have led to their injury, sickness and death". No one is specifically called.
Some memoirs of September 11 elsewhere already included sick rescuers, recovery and clean-up workers, and there is a wall of memory entirely centered on them in Nesconset, Long Island. But those who are sick or injured, and their families, say that having a tribute to ground zero has special significance.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced on Monday that its September 11th memorial will close next week for electrical and lighting work. The project, which should last until the end of May, includes repairs to illuminate the defects in the shallow pools that reflect beneath the commemorative benches.
September 11th is known not only as a day for remembrance and patriotism, but also as a day of service. People across the country continue to volunteer at food banks, schools, home construction projects, park cleaning and other charitable activities during and near the anniversary.
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