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Obama on 12-Year Anniversary of 9/11: "Our Hearts still Ache"

At the Pentagon ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, thousands arrived to pay homage to the nearly 3,000 innocent souls who died

By: Daniel Koren
Published: September 11th, 2013 in News » World
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, VP Joe Biden, and his wife Jill BidenPic: AP

At the two-year-old memorial plaza at the site of the World Trade Center, where twelve years ago today witnessed the most tragic and horrific terrorist attacks in U.S. history, thousands of Americans arrived to pay tribute to the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 bombings.

As bells tolled, relatives recited the names of loved ones who perished at the hands of the ruthless terrorists that hijacked four flights and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pa.

Many held photos of loved ones, as individuals stood silently, holding on to one another for comfort.

The victims of the 1993 trade center bombings were also commemorated.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, perpetuating the decision he made last year for politicians not to be involved in the event, did not speak, but stood silently to pay his respects to the families of the victims.

In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife Jill Biden, made their way to South Lawn at 8:46am, the exact moment when the first jet crashed into the World Trade Center south tower in New York.

Let us have courage to carry on no matter how dark the night," Obama said to the somber crowd.

The commemoration ceremony has become a painful tradition for Americans over the past twelve years, as relatives of lost loved ones spoke in their honour.

"As time passes and our family grows, our children remind us of you," said Angilic Casalduc of her mother, Vivian Casalduc who died during the attacks. "We miss you."

An hour later at 9:37am, Obama was at the Pentagon in Virginia to hold a private observance for the friends and family members of the 184 people who died there.

"Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away," he said, as he lay a wreath to honour the victims.

"Let us have the strength to face the threats that endure, different though they may be from 12 years ago, so that as long as there are those who would strike our citizens, we will stand vigilant and defend our nation," he added. "Let us have the wisdom to know that, while force is at times necessary, force alone cannot build the world we seek."

"No matter how many years pass, this time comes around each year — and it's always the same," said Karen Hinson from Seaford, New York, whose 34-year-old brother, Michael Wittenstein died in the attacks.

"My brother was never found, so this is where he is for us," she added.

Thousands the world over will continue to grieve today on the 12th anniversary of this tragic set of occurrences that will forever remain etched in our minds and our hearts.

Related articles: World News, September 11th, 9/11, United States, Obama, Pentagon, Joe Biden, World Trade Center, Michelle Obama
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