Watch: 9/11 memorial ceremony as world remembers World Trade Center attacks on 20th anniversary

Joe Biden will visit all three sites associated with the attacks on Saturday as the Queen, Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer pay tribute

Watch: 9/11 memorial ceremony as world remembers World Trade Center attacks on 20th anniversary

Twenty years after four planes were hijacked in a series of attacks that saw two flown into the World Trade Center in New York City, the world remembers the nearly 3,000 lives lost. 

U.S. President Joe Biden will visit the three sites associated with the attacks. He will go to ground zero in lower Manhattan; to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after passengers tried to regain control of the hijacked plane.

The painful anniversary comes only weeks after American and allied forces completed a chaotic withdrawal from the war the United States started in Afghanistan in retaliation for the attacks – which became the longest war in U.S. history.

In a day of reflection, the Queen, Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer have already paid tribute to the lives lost. 

In a defiant message to be played a memorial event at the Olympic Park in east London on Saturday, the Prime Minister said the threat of terrorism remained but people refused to live their lives in “permanent fear”.

“The fact that we are coming together today – in sorrow but also in faith and resolve – demonstrates the failure of terrorism and the strength of the bonds between us,” Mr Johnson said.

Charlie Green, whose father Don Greene on Flight 93 stands in front of candles and flowers during a Luminaria Ceremony at Flight 93's Memorial Plaza ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Charlie Green, whose father Don Greene on Flight 93 stands in front of candles and flowers during a Luminaria Ceremony at Flight 93’s Memorial Plaza ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in Shanksville, Pennsylvania CREDIT: Ryan Collerd 

The Queen remembered her visit to the site of the attack.

In a message to the US President Joe Biden, she said: “As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on September 11 2001, my thoughts and prayers, and those of my family and the entire nation, remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.

“My visit to the site of the World Trade Centre in 2010 is held fast in my memory.

“It reminds me that as we honour those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury said on Twitter: “Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, it’s still hard to articulate the loss that terrible day brought.

“Today we pray for all those affected by terror and violence. May God guide us together towards the peace offered by the crucified and resurrected Christ.”

While, former prime minister David Cameron remembered trying to reach his wife, Samantha, who was working in New York when the September 11 attacks struck in 2001.

He said: “20 years ago today I held my phone and anxiously pressed redial repeatedly, trying to reach Sam who was working in NYC.

“I will never forget the worry, and the huge relief when, after some hours, I found out she was safe. Today, we commemorate those who were not as fortunate.

“We remember the victims who so sadly lost their lives, the survivors and all those who were affected from the horror and devastation of 9/11.

“We pay respect to the heroes who risked their own lives to respond. These are human stories; human tragedies. We will never forget.”

Red roses rest against the names of the fallen on the south pool at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Red roses rest against the names of the fallen on the south pool at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum CREDIT: AP

Labour leader Sir Keir said the consequences of the attacks were “still being felt to this day”, adding the tragedy was “still so raw”.

He said: “But as we mark this anniversary I’m convinced our resolve has never been stronger.

“We will continue to fight terror and violence, by promoting our values of justice and peace.”

Clifford Chanin, executive vice president at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum built at the site of the World Trade Center attack, said the two-decade milestone would serve as a “moment of high emotion” for the country, a time to consider “where we’ve been and where we are headed.”

In New York City, the ceremony at the Sept. 11 Memorial will begin with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. EDT 12.46 GMT, the exact time when the first plane flew into one of the World Trade Center’s twin towers. After that, family members will recite the names of 2,977 victims, an annual ritual that will last four hours.

At sunset on Saturday, 88 powerful lightbulbs will project twin beams four miles (6.4 km) into the sky to mirror the shape of the fallen towers. This year, buildings throughout Manhattan, including the Empire State Building and Lincoln Center Plaza, will join the commemoration by illuminating their facades in blue.

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