The were no clouds in New York’s sky on Saturday. Nearly the same blank blue as the morning of 9/11.
Twenty years on, against a backdrop of extraordinary political divisiveness, Americans this weekend marked the deadliest terrorist strike on U.S. soil with the austere tolling of bells, the soaring strains of “Amazing Grace” and the somber recitation of names of the dead.
The landmark anniversary prompted an outpouring of grief for the nearly 3,000 people killed Sept. 11, 2001, when four hijacked U.S. passenger planes were wielded — unfathomably, still — as weapons.
The plane crashes at the World Trade Center; Shanksville, Pa.; and the Pentagon galvanized an outpouring of unity and solidarity in the United States. But two decades later, the anniversary showcased myriad ways in which the nation remains wounded, in large part from within, even as it celebrated heroism and resilience.
In groups big and small, Americans and people abroad filed quietly in by the thousands to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the Pentagon, the September 11 Memorial Garden in London, and a monument in Rome.
People across the globe sang out songs of American patriotism.
343 American flags, representing firefighters who were killed on 9/11, were held during a processional along Fifth Avenue.
Thousands of New Yorkers and visitors placed flowers, photographs and personal belongings on the names engraved into the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
As the day began, an American flag was draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon.