Years After the Attacks, 9/10/03
Thursday marks the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Ceremonies around the country will be less elaborate than those held the first year following the attacks, but government officials will visit the sites in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
At New York City's ground zero, the former site of the World Trade Center, children of the victims will read aloud the names of the 2,792 people who were killed at the site. The public may attend as space permits, but preference will be given to the victims' families. Due to security concerns at the trade center memorial, Vice President Dick Cheney will attend a service honoring fallen Port Authority officers and employees later in the day.
Several ceremonies will take place in and around Washington, D.C., the site of the attack on the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States' Department of Defense. At the Pentagon itself, officials will dedicate a stained glass window in the chapel to honor the 184 killed there. Nearby, at Arlington National Cemetery Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will lay a wreath. President Bush will attend a prayer service at St. John's Church, participate in a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House and visit wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
According to the White House, President Bush will designate this year's memorial a "National Day of Remembrance" and "Patriot Day."
In Shanksville, Pa., Interior Secretary Gale Norton will visit the field where one of the hijacked planes crashed, killing 40 people.
Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath
The ceremonies planned will commemorate the harrowing events of Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, terrorists linked to the Muslim extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four commercial jetliner flights. Two crashed into the World Trade Center buildings, another hit the Pentagon, and one plane, which some officials speculate was intended to fly into a Washington, D.C., target, crashed in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The terrorist attacks
sparked what has come to be known as the war on terrorism: the United
States' ongoing effort to combat terrorists and the individuals and organizations
that support them. This war has come to involve military operations in
Afghanistan and increased domestic security, including tightening immigration
and border controls and adopting the Patriot Act. President Bush has said
the new frontline of this war is the ongoing mission in Iraq.
Permanent memorials are being planned for all three sites.
In New York City, architect Daniel Libeskind won the World Trade Center competition to create the redevelopment plan for the ground zero site. The highlight of his design is a needle-like "Freedom Tower" that rises 1,776 feet into the air, echoing the year that the United States became an independent nation. In addition to the redevelopment of the site, a memorial to those killed at the site in 2001 and 1993, the year of the first bombing of the World Trade Center, is being planned. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is administering a contest to choose who will design the memorial. The finalist will be announced in fall 2003.
New York architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman won the competition to design the memorial at the Pentagon. Their design features 184 benches, one for each victim, arranged in parallel rows that mimic the path that flight 77 made into the building. Benches honoring those who were in the plane face one direction; those that honor individuals in the building face the other.
In Pennsylvania, the memorial is still in the planning stages though it will include the creation of a national park.
By Annie Schleicher, Online NewsHour