Americans commemorated 9/11 on Friday as a new national crisis — the coronavirus pandemic — reconfigured anniversary ceremonies and a presidential campaign carved a path through the observances.
Watch the ceremony in the player above.
Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others went ahead, sometimes with modifications.
The Pentagon’s observance was so restricted that not even victims’ families could attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.
In his remarks marking the Sept. 11 attacks on America Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, “We came together as a nation on that fateful day and witnessed a tremendous outpouring of courage, compassion and sacrifice. Amid the grief, the darkness and the disarray.”
“Here at the Pentagon, we honor and remember the numerous acts of heroism and personal courage that prevented the human toll from becoming much, much worse,” he said.
In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.
Still, families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon in Washington and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001 — shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.