The sky was as blue as it was 20 years ago, in the final days of New York summer. The ceremony in honor of the 2,977 victims of the biggest terrorist attack in US history began at 8:41 am on Saturday (11), with the handing over of the American flag by representatives of the forces that carried out rescues that day and suffered losses – firefighters, police and others .
It was followed by a minute of silence at 8:46 am, when the first plane crashed into the north tower. The milestone would be repeated chronologically: second plane (9:03), Pentagon hit (9:37), south tower crash (9:59), plane crash in Pennsylvania (10:03) and north tower crash (10:28), thus ending the official chronology of 102 minutes.
In an event that lasted a total of 4h12m, pairs of relatives climbed onto a stage, took off their masks and read blocks of the names of the dead that day. In the audience, many held smartphones filming the performance of the national anthem, politicians and artists present and held up posters with photos.
Also in the audience, near the two pools with the names of the dead engraved on the edges, were President Joe Biden and his Democratic predecessors, Barack Obama (2009-2017) and Bill Clinton (1993-2001), along with his wife, Hillary, that on September 11, 2001, she was a senator for the State of New York.
“This nation is too big, too strong, too united, too powerful in terms of our cohesion and our values to let that divide us,” Biden said in an interview before the ceremony. “And that won’t happen.”
Later, during a ceremony in Pennsylvania, he referred to the political polarization that the United States is going through. “We will — in the next four, five, six, ten years — demonstrate that democracies [dos países] can they work or not?”
There were fears that the president might be booed in New York, precisely because of political tensions, but that didn’t happen. Republican George W. Bush (2001-2009) also without incident led the ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“For those too young to remember that clear September day, it’s hard to describe the mixed feelings we experienced,” Bush said. “There was shock at the audacity of evil and gratitude for the heroism and decency that followed. The actions of the enemy have revealed the spirit of a people, and we are proud of our bruised nation.”
It was in a field in that city that the plane of the United Flight 93 crashed, it is believed that due to the actions of the passengers, they would have been able to face the terrorists. It is assumed that the aircraft would crash into the White House or Capitol Hill, seat of the US Legislature, that day.
Republican Donald Trump, Biden’s predecessor, did not participate in official ceremonies, but he released a video in which he praises rescuers and criticizes Biden for leaving Afghanistan. The day before, he made controversial statements about 9/11. He said he went to the region of the attacks as soon as he found out and took several people with him to help with the rescues.
However, there is no record of him there that day. There is, indeed, an interview given to local broadcaster NY1 by the politician notable for spreading fake news saying that he watched everything from the window of the Trump Tower, 11 kilometers away from the World Trade Center.
On the same day, Trump said that with the fall of the towers, his building on Wall Street would become the tallest building in New York — in fact, the landmark became the Empire State Building — and that he had seen Muslims celebrating the attack on the streets of New Jersey, which has never been proven by reliable sources or even images.
At the end of each block, pairs of relatives spoke a few words about their own loss, in English, but also in Spanish and Russian – the victims came from 70 countries, including five from Brazil, although only three are officially on the list.
In one of the breaks, Bruce Springsteen, one of the top musicians in the neighboring state of New Jersey, second in death toll that day, behind New York, sang “I’ll See You in My Dreams” (I’ll see you in my dreams ). At night, the traditional “Tribute in Light” ceremony should again place two beams of light in the skies of southern Manhattan, recalling the towers that were brought down 20 years ago.