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Families of 9/11 victims gather at Ground Zero

The families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks once again gathered in lower Manhattan on Sunday to remember the lives lost on that fateful day 21 years ago.

Mourners were seen Sunday morning placing flags with red and blue stripes in the engraved names of the heroes who died that day 21 years ago at the memorial that now stands at the site of the former World Trade Center.

Some also carried pictures of their loved ones, with flowers in hand as they kept their remaining relatives close.

The annual ceremony was scheduled to begin at 8.30am on Sunday, with family members and friends reading off the names of the victims of the terrorist attack, which will conclude at around 12.30pm.

Six moments of silence will be observed throughout the program, commemorating when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and collapsed, as well as the times corresponding to the subsequent attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.

Then on Sunday night, the annual Tribute in Light will shine over Lower Manhattan, casting an aura where the Twin Towers once stood.

A woman was seen at the 9/11 Memorial in Downtown Manhattan on Sunday placing flags with red stripes in the names of the fallen firefighters

A woman was seen at the 9/11 Memorial in Downtown Manhattan on Sunday placing flags with red stripes in the names of the fallen firefighters

A woman cried during the ceremony as names of the victims were read aloud

A woman cried during the ceremony as names of the victims were read aloud

A woman cried during the ceremony as names of the victims were read aloud

Relatives of the victims looked at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City on the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks

Relatives of the victims looked at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City on the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks

Relatives of the victims looked at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City on the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks

A woman is seen holding a photo of a loved one killed in the terrorist attack with some flowers in her other hand

A woman is seen holding a photo of a loved one killed in the terrorist attack with some flowers in her other hand

A woman is seen holding a photo of a loved one killed in the terrorist attack with some flowers in her other hand

People held memorial signs as they attended the annual memorial ceremony on Sunday

People held memorial signs as they attended the annual memorial ceremony on Sunday

People held memorial signs as they attended the annual memorial ceremony on Sunday

Firefighters and police officers opened the ceremony on Sunday morning

Firefighters and police officers opened the ceremony on Sunday morning

Firefighters and police officers opened the ceremony on Sunday morning

Other ceremonies are also planned throughout the country with candlelight vigils, interfaith services and other commemorations. 

Some Americans are joining in volunteer projects on a day that is federally recognized as both Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, plans to speak and lay a wreath at the Pentagon, while First Lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes went down after passengers and crew members tried to storm the cockpit as the hijackers headed for Washington.

Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff are also due at the National September 11 Memorial in New York, but, by tradition, no political figures speak at the Ground Zero ceremony, which centers on the victim’s families.

Among those in attendance at the September 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan on Sunday were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Gov Kathy Hochul

Among those in attendance at the September 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan on Sunday were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Gov Kathy Hochul

Among those in attendance at the September 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan on Sunday were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Gov Kathy Hochul

Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, left, and Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy, right, shake hands during the ceremony

Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, left, and Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy, right, shake hands during the ceremony

Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, left, and Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy, right, shake hands during the ceremony

The annual Tribute in Light shined over Lower Manhattan on Saturday night

The annual Tribute in Light shined over Lower Manhattan on Saturday night

The annual Tribute in Light shined over Lower Manhattan on Saturday night

People sit looking over the East River to see the Tribute in Light installation marking the location of the former World Trade Center

People sit looking over the East River to see the Tribute in Light installation marking the location of the former World Trade Center

People sit looking over the East River to see the Tribute in Light installation marking the location of the former World Trade Center

Remembering the victims in Manhattan 

The annual 9/11 memorial program begins at 8.30am

At 8.46am there will be a moment of silence in observance of the time American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower

Another moment of silence will be held at 9.03am to observe the time United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower

The third moment of silence will be held at 9.37am to observe the time American Airline Flight 77 struck the Pentagon

At 9.59am there will be a fourth moment of silence in observance of the time the South Tower fell

At 10.03am there will be a moment of silence in observance of the time United Airline Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania

10:28 a.m. – Moment of silence in observance of the time the North Tower fell

12:30pm – Program concludes

 

Among those expected to be in attendance at this year’s Ground Zero ceremony is Ken Haskell, a firefighter from Long Island who was off-duty that Tuesday morning, but rushed to the scene as soon as a Boeing 747 struck the North Tower.

‘As soon as the plane hit, I knew it was a terrorist attack,’ he told FOX News.

At the same time, his brothers, Timmy and Tommy, were also rushing tot he Twin Towers from different part of the city.

The trio had wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps, as a Marine and a New York City firefighter, Haskell said.

‘We all just had an inclination to help other people,’ he explained. ‘I think that’s really what drove us to that job.’

Haskell was still driving by the time a second plane struck the South Tower at around 9am, causing the massive structure to collapse just one hour later.

By the time the North Tower fell just before 10.30am, Haskell was driving over the Manhattan Bridge and told one of his colleagues: ‘We all know someone who just died.’

But at that point, he did not know about the fate of his brothers — both of whom died as heroes trying to save lives before the towers collapsed.

Timmy’s body was discovered four days later, FOX News reports, but Tommy’s remains were never identified. 

Haskell said he now takes solace in the fact that they died doing what they loved.

‘If those planes hit again tomorrow, they would be the first guys running back in there,’ he claimed. ‘There’s no doubt in my mind.’ 

Ken Haskell, left, was off-duty on September 11 but rushed onto the scene as soon as the first plane hit the North Tower, as did his brother Tommy. They are pictured with their mother

Ken Haskell, left, was off-duty on September 11 but rushed onto the scene as soon as the first plane hit the North Tower, as did his brother Tommy. They are pictured with their mother

Ken Haskell, left, was off-duty on September 11 but rushed onto the scene as soon as the first plane hit the North Tower, as did his brother Tommy. They are pictured with their mother

Their other brother, Timmy (pictured) also died in the attacks as he tried to rescue those stuck inside the Twin Towers

Their other brother, Timmy (pictured) also died in the attacks as he tried to rescue those stuck inside the Twin Towers

Their other brother, Timmy (pictured) also died in the attacks as he tried to rescue those stuck inside the Twin Towers

Haskell found out later that Timmy was also off-duty on Tuesday, but rushed from his downtown Manhattan home.

He and a fellow Squad 18 firefighter immediately sped up a stairway in the North Tower to help those trapped inside.

‘They were able to get to the 30th floor and came across somebody in medical distress,’ Haskell recounted. ‘They stopped and provided first aid.’

The pair then determined they need to help the man down the stairs, so Timmy’s colleague went to check for a safe way out — but when he returned Timmy was gone.

At that point, a Port Authority police officer who arrived while he was gone informed the firefighter that Timmy went farther up the tower to help someone else.

‘He made a decision and nothing surprised me about the decision he made,’ Haskell said. ‘Someone needed help, and he was gonna do it.’

Timmy’s colleague and the officer then helped the man out of the building, which collapsed as soon as they entered the lobby — creating a force that propelled them out of the tower.

At the same time, Timmy made it up pretty high in the building.

‘That left him pretty high  in the rubble pile,’ Haskell said. ‘We found him four days later.’

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

Both the North and South tower collapsed that day, killing everyone stuck inside

Both the North and South tower collapsed that day, killing everyone stuck inside

Both the North and South tower collapsed that day, killing everyone stuck inside

Firefighter Gerard McGibbon is seen here crying after the towers fell that day

Firefighter Gerard McGibbon is seen here crying after the towers fell that day

Firefighter Gerard McGibbon is seen here crying after the towers fell that day

Haskell was actually at the scene of Ground Zero when Timmy’s body was recovered, he said.

‘I saw one of the guys from the company there, and he just had this look on his face,’ Haskell recounted. ‘I knew. I just said “Which one?”

After finding out that it was Timmy, he drove to his family’s Long Island home, where he had to deliver the bad news.

‘That was a difficult moment, having to tell [my mother],’ he told FOX, adding that she then asked for news about Tommy.

‘I said “Well, we’re still looking for him.”

He later found out that Tommy’s company Ladder 132, never made it out of the South Tower. 

They were right behind members of Ladder 113, who were able to get out, but were not as fortunate.

‘All the guys from 113 survived, and all the guys from 132, few more seconds, they possibly could have survived, but they were all lost,’ Haskell said.

A US flag hangs from a Conroe Fire Department ladder truck during a September 11th Observance ceremony

A US flag hangs from a Conroe Fire Department ladder truck during a September 11th Observance ceremony

A US flag hangs from a Conroe Fire Department ladder truck during a September 11th Observance ceremony

Firefighters walk the streets in Bellows Falls Vermont to honor the 343 firefighters who died in the September 11 attacks

Firefighters walk the streets in Bellows Falls Vermont to honor the 343 firefighters who died in the September 11 attacks

Firefighters walk the streets in Bellows Falls Vermont to honor the 343 firefighters who died in the September 11 attacks

Attendees salute the flag during a September 11 ceremony in Texas on Sunday

Attendees salute the flag during a September 11 ceremony in Texas on Sunday

Attendees salute the flag during a September 11 ceremony in Texas on Sunday

First responders observed the playing of the United States national anthem as an American flag was unfurled around dawn in Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2022

First responders observed the playing of the United States national anthem as an American flag was unfurled around dawn in Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2022

First responders observed the playing of the United States national anthem as an American flag was unfurled around dawn in Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2022

The first responders stood in the heavy rain for the annual memorial on Sunday

The first responders stood in the heavy rain for the annual memorial on Sunday

The first responders stood in the heavy rain for the annual memorial on Sunday

He noted that as a captain, Tommy always made it a priority to be ‘mindful of everyone else’s well-being around him.

‘I knew that day he would be the last guy out, regardless of whatever the circumstance was.

In the aftermath, Tommy’s three children filled his casket with mementos — because his remains were never identified. 

‘I’m grateful to know what they did, and I’m proud of what they did,’ Haskell said of his brothers. ‘People made decisions, put themselves at risk and that’s something o be heralded.’

He added that he still misses his brothers ‘terribly,’ noting: ‘We did everything together. We did the same careers together. I cherish those memories.

‘I want to live the best life I can through their example,’ he said, adding: ‘I know I’m going to see them again. That’s what gets me through.’

Patrick Dillon, a September 11 first responder, protested outside the memorial on Sunday

Patrick Dillon, a September 11 first responder, protested outside the memorial on Sunday

Patrick Dillon, a September 11 first responder, protested outside the memorial on Sunday

He sat on top of a poster outlining the effects the wars have had on American soldiers and civilians, including '20 suicides every day'

He sat on top of a poster outlining the effects the wars have had on American soldiers and civilians, including '20 suicides every day'

He sat on top of a poster outlining the effects the wars have had on American soldiers and civilians, including ’20 suicides every day’

New York City police officers kept watch over Dillon as he engaged in his one-man protest

New York City police officers kept watch over Dillon as he engaged in his one-man protest

New York City police officers kept watch over Dillon as he engaged in his one-man protest

Dillon's face and white clothes were covered in fake blood in an apparent protest of the United States' continued involvement in the Middle East

Dillon's face and white clothes were covered in fake blood in an apparent protest of the United States' continued involvement in the Middle East

Dillon’s face and white clothes were covered in fake blood in an apparent protest of the United States’ continued involvement in the Middle East

Meanwhile, outside the ceremony on Sunday, a man was seen covered in fake blood as part of a one-man protest.

Patrick Dillon, a September 11 first responder, seemed to be protesting the United States’ continued involvement in the Middle East, sitting on top of a poster outlining the effects the wars have had on American soldiers, including ’20 suicides every day.’

It also listed the number of civilian casualties in the area, and listed opium as a consequence on both sides as well as ‘oil, oil, oil.’ 

It remains unclear exactly what message Dillon was trying to send, but the protest drew the attention of several passersby at the September 11 Museum and Memorial on Sunday, as police monitored the scene.

An Honor Guard was made up of Conroe police and fire personnel present the colors during a September 11th Observance ceremony

An Honor Guard was made up of Conroe police and fire personnel present the colors during a September 11th Observance ceremony

An Honor Guard was made up of Conroe police and fire personnel present the colors during a September 11th Observance ceremony

Stephen Kloesel plays "Taps" during a September 11th Observance ceremony on the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

Stephen Kloesel plays "Taps" during a September 11th Observance ceremony on the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

Stephen Kloesel plays “Taps” during a September 11th Observance ceremony on the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, right, his wife Lauren, center, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, second from left, stand for the national anthem before the reading of names of Massachusetts victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, right, his wife Lauren, center, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, second from left, stand for the national anthem before the reading of names of Massachusetts victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, right, his wife Lauren, center, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, second from left, stand for the national anthem before the reading of names of Massachusetts victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

A candlelight vigil in Manhattan on Friday highlighted the Ukrainians' support and friendship to the United States on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks

A candlelight vigil in Manhattan on Friday highlighted the Ukrainians' support and friendship to the United States on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks

A candlelight vigil in Manhattan on Friday highlighted the Ukrainians’ support and friendship to the United States on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks

Participants at the candlelight vigil held Ukrainian and American flags

Participants at the candlelight vigil held Ukrainian and American flags

Participants at the candlelight vigil held Ukrainian and American flags

This year’s anniversary comes as the families of the 9/11 victims are suing the Saudi government in an effort to expose how the 19 al Qaeda hijackers — 15 of whom were Saudi nationals — received financial help before they crashed the four jets that day.

The families say they are suing the country in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to force some type of admission that the government was involved with the al Qaeda hijackers, with Brett Eagleson pointing to newly-declassified FBI documents.

Those documents state that ‘Omar Albayoumi was paid a monthly stipend as a cooptee of the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency,’ according to the Boston Herald.

 It then goes on to state that the financial support came ‘via then-Ambassador Prince Bandarbin Sultan Alsuad,’ who was the ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005.

Eagleson, whose father died in the September 11 attacks when he was just 15, said that is proof that Albayoumi was a California-based Saudi spy. 

He is alleged to have helped known hijackers Nawat al Hazmi and Khalid al Mindhar, who were the first to arrive in the United States when they landed in Los Angeles in January 2000. The southern California terror cell was exposed years later in an FBI report.

From there, Hazmi and Mindhar would move to San Diego, where they enrolled in a course to become pilots.

They then ultimately boarded Flight 77 on September 11, 2001, slamming it into the Pentagon, killing 64 people on the plane and 125 people in the building.

‘Our government made a deal with the devil, and there’s something there we don’t know,’ Eagleson, a Connecticut dad, told the Herald. ‘But it ain’t over yet.’ 

Saudi officials are now seeking to dismiss the case, but if they are unsuccessful, the Herald reports, oral arguments could be set for as early as the spring.

But experts say the lawsuit is not likely to have much of an effect on the Saudi government, as the US has to retain its relationship with the country in its efforts to fight Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

‘It’s a harsh recognition that you occasionally have to deal with an unsavory government,’ Kirk Lippold, an adjunct professor at the Naval Academy, said. 

Biden leaves his weekend in Wilmington early to head to the Pentagon and Kamala joins other politicians at ground zero in New York City as both participate in September 11 commemorations

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris split up on Sunday to pay tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The president ended his weekend at his home in Delaware earlier than usual to come back to a rainy Washington, D.C. and lay a wreath at the Pentagon 9/11 memorial and deliver remarks on the 21st anniversary of the attack.

Biden arrived to downpour in the nation’s capital, holding a large black umbrella as he disembarked Air Force 1 and donning a raincoat before entering the presidential vehicle The Beast and motorcading to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

The president quoted the late Queen Elizabeth II during his speech just days after her death, saying in his remarks in the rain outside the Pentagon on Sunday: ‘Grief is a price we pay for love.’

First lady Jill Biden spoke on Sunday in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a hijacked plane crashed in a field after the passengers stopped terrorists from reaching their target. All 40 passengers and crew died, as well as the four hijackers.

Meanwhile, the vice president and second gentleman Doug Emhoff arrived in New York City Sunday morning to participate in a commemoration ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum located at ground zero.

Biden lays a wreath at the Pentagon to commemorate 9/11 terrorist attacks

Biden lays a wreath at the Pentagon to commemorate 9/11 terrorist attacks

Biden lays a wreath at the Pentagon to commemorate 9/11 terrorist attacks

The president put his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to remember the victims of the attack. A total of 184 people died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, including all 64 people on the plane and another 125 people in the Pentagon that day

The president put his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to remember the victims of the attack. A total of 184 people died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, including all 64 people on the plane and another 125 people in the Pentagon that day

The president put his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to remember the victims of the attack. A total of 184 people died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, including all 64 people on the plane and another 125 people in the Pentagon that day

The president arrived to a downpour as he departed his weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware earlier than usual to participate in a wreath laying and deliver remarks at the Pentagon on the 21st anniversary of the attacks

The president arrived to a downpour as he departed his weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware earlier than usual to participate in a wreath laying and deliver remarks at the Pentagon on the 21st anniversary of the attacks

The president arrived to a downpour as he departed his weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware earlier than usual to participate in a wreath laying and deliver remarks at the Pentagon on the 21st anniversary of the attacks

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff participate in a commemoration ceremony at ground zero in New York City on Sunday

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff participate in a commemoration ceremony at ground zero in New York City on Sunday

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff participate in a commemoration ceremony at ground zero in New York City on Sunday

Also spotted at the somber event are Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, among others.

Before departing Delaware for D.C. on Sunday, Biden told the press traveling with him that ‘there is a plan’ for there to be justice brought to victims’ families as those responsible for the attacks still sit in Guantanamo Bay prisons two decades later.

A total of 184 people died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, including all 64 people on the plane and another 125 people in the Pentagon that day.

The grounds have an outdoor memorial, which includes a bench for each of the victims, as well as an indoor chapel to honor the lives lost. 

Before departing Delaware for D.C. on Sunday, Biden told the press traveling with him that 'there is a plan' for there to be justice brought to victims' families as those responsible for the attacks still sit in Guantanamo Bay prisons two decades later

Before departing Delaware for D.C. on Sunday, Biden told the press traveling with him that 'there is a plan' for there to be justice brought to victims' families as those responsible for the attacks still sit in Guantanamo Bay prisons two decades later

Before departing Delaware for D.C. on Sunday, Biden told the press traveling with him that ‘there is a plan’ for there to be justice brought to victims’ families as those responsible for the attacks still sit in Guantanamo Bay prisons two decades later

Joining Biden at the Pentagon on Sunday were members of his Defense Department team, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The two delivered remarks in the rain before the president took stage.

Milley said the attacks on 9/11 were an attack on U.S. democracy and Austin thanked those who signed up for the military then and now to continue defending America.

‘Surrounding us today are 184 steel benches, each bearing the name of a person murdered in the attack on the Pentagon,’ Austin said. ‘And every night, 184 lights come on, lighting up their bench.’

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