Israel commemorates 9/11 attacks

The Jerusalem Post
By JPOST.COM Staff, September 11, 2014

Ceremonies in Israel and around the world commemorate the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

US ambassador Dan Shapiro speaking at the September 11 memorial in Jerusalem.. (photo credit:KKL-JNF)
US ambassador Dan Shapiro speaking at the September 11 memorial in Jerusalem. (photo credit:KKL-JNF)

People around Israel commemorated on Thursday the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, in which al-Qaida terrorists killed almost 3,000 people in the US.

A memorial ceremony was held by the Jewish National Fund at the site of the 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem. US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro spoke at the ceremony along with other ambassadors from around the world, as well as representatives of the Israeli families who lost their loved ones in the attacks.

During a counter-terrorism conference at the The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya concluding on Thursday in commemoration of the day of the attacks, a minute of silence was held close to the actual time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about Israel’s shared sorrow with the US over the attacks.

“We remember that day thirteen years ago and we mourn with you on this day for the thousands who lost their lives in that horrific attack,” Netanyahu said. “All of Israel mourns on September 11.”

In the US, politicians, dignitaries and victims’ relatives were getting ready for ceremonies in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Thursday to commemorate the attacks.

In what has become an annual ritual, the names of the victims will be read aloud at a ceremony in lower Manhattan, punctuated by moments of silence to mark the times when each of the four hijacked airliners crashed and the World Trade Center’s twin towers fell.

President Barack Obama is due to speak at the Pentagon during a private ceremony for relatives of the people killed in the attack on the headquarters of the US Defense Department by the Islamist militant group.

In New York City, it is the first commemoration ceremony since the opening of the museum at the National September 11 Memorial, along with the adjoining repository for unidentified victims’ remains.

The area, by turns a smoldering grave and an off-limits construction site for more than a decade, now is increasingly reconnected with the surrounding streets as rebuilding at the site nears completion.

Larry and Rachel Meltzer arrived an hour before the ceremony’s start, carrying folding chairs and wearing badges that bore a picture of Larry’s brother, Stuart, who was a trader in one of the towers when he was killed.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years,” Meltzer said before heading through the security checkpoint. “As far as the pain, I never forget and it never diminishes.”

Although the reconstruction has been plagued by delays, two of the new skyscrapers built around the site of the fallen twin towers are now open, while 1 World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, is due to open later this year.

While lower Manhattan may look and feel different this year, the external threat to the United States represented by the September 11 attacks remains.

The United States and its allies see Islamic State, a group that began as an offshoot of al-Qaida, as an increasing danger. On Wednesday, Obama said he had ordered an aerial bombing campaign on the group, which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and released videos of beheadings of two American hostages.

The only ceremony open to the public is at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the four hijacked airliners crashed.

Reuters contributed to this report.