Some 1,300 people, including members of Congress, family members of victims and ambassadors, attended the six month memorial services on the White House South Lawn.
President Bush renewed the U.S.’s commitment to fight terrorism, and urged all countries to join the coalition against terror.
“September the 11th was not the beginning of global terror, but it was the beginning of the world’s concerted response,” Mr. Bush told the assembly.
To underscore the international aspect of the U.S. war against terrorism, more than 170 flags from different nations flew during the ceremony.
“History will know that day not only as a day of tragedy, but as a day of decision when the civilized world was stirred to anger and to action. And the terrorists will remember September the 11th as the day their reckoning began,” the president said.
President Bush ended his 19-minute speech by saying “God bless the coalition,” instead of his usual “God bless America.”
Earlier in the day in New York City, a six month memorial service opened with a moment of silence at 8:46 am ET to mark when the first hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center tower. The ceremony paused again at 9:03 am ET, when the second plane struck the other tower.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg dedicated a bronze and steel sculpture, called the Sphere, as a temporary memorial to the victims of the WTC attacks. The Sphere, previously located in the trade center plaza, was partially crushed when the buildings collapsed.
“What we remember is the people that we lost and those they left behind, and their wish for a better America and a better world,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani honored the courage of the thousands who died in the WTC attacks.
“I realized that we had won the war against terror on that first day. We’re now winning the battles, but we had won the war because of their bravery,” Giuliani said. “It’s to them that we have to look for our inspiration and our sense of purpose. They would want us to lift up our heads very, very high.”
Governor George E. Pataki called Sept. 11 the day the U.S. “saw the face of evil” but was not defeated by it.
“September 11 will also stand for our response, which was to respond to evil with good, to respond to terror with love.”
Coinciding with the memorials in Washington, DC and New York City, a special church service in Shanksville, Pennsylvania honored the 44 victims aboard United Airlines Flight 93, the fourth commandeered plane which crashed in that area when passengers reportedly fought with the hijackers.