After 21 years since the bloodiest terrorist attack to occur on American soil, Americans recalled 9/11 on Sunday with heartfelt tributes and calls to “never forget.”

Bonita Mentis, who wore a necklace with a picture of her murdered sister Shevonne Mentis, said the loss still felt sudden.

“21 years have passed, but for us, it’s not 21 years. Before reading the names of the dead at the World Trade Center to the audience, which included Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, she stated, “It feels like only yesterday.

First lady Jill Biden spoke at the third attack site, a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. President Joe Biden vowed that the U.S. would continue working to thwart terrorist plots at the Pentagon, which was also hit on 9/11, and urged Americans to defend “the very democracy that guarantees the right to freedom that those terrorists on 9/11 sought to bury in the burning fire, smoke, and ash.”

Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked aircraft on September 11, 2001, and used them as passenger-filled missiles to attack the Pentagon and the World Trade Center’s twin towers. When the crew and passengers attempted to storm the cockpit of the fourth aircraft, which was en route to Washington, it crashed close to Shanksville.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, which also altered national security strategy and sparked a global “war on terror” by the United States. Ayman al-Zawahri, a top al-Qaida commander who assisted in the 9/11 plot, was killed by a U.S. drone attack a little over a month prior to Sunday’s commemorations.

When an American raid killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, Pierre Roldan, who also lost his relative Carlos Lillo, a paramedic, claimed: “we had some type of justice.”

At least we’re still getting that justice now that al-Zawahri is no longer there, Roldan remarked.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, is currently awaiting a lengthy military tribunal. This Monday, a lawyer for one of Mohammed’s co-defendants revealed that talks to avoid a trial and impose shorter but still serious punishments are still going on.

For a brief period after the Sept. 11 attacks, many people felt a sense of national pride and camaraderie. However, Muslim Americans have since been the target of prejudice and mistrust, and there has been discussion about how to strike a balance between their rights and safety. The fallout from 9/11 continues to have an impact on American politics and public life today in subtle and obvious ways.

Jay Saloman, like some other family members of victims, worries that Americans’ awareness of 9/11 is waning.

“That day, there was a terrorist strike against our nation. Theoretically, everyone ought to be aware of this and, you know, exercise caution and keep an eye out, according to Saloman, who lost his brother Wayne Saloman.

At the ground zero ceremony, political speakers are generally absent. Instead, the focus of the ceremony is on family members reading out the names of the deceased.

Brooke Walsh-DiMarzio, like an increasing number of readers, was not yet born when her relative passed away. But she stood at the podium to pay tribute to Barbara Walsh, her grandma.

Walsh-DiMarzio stated, “I’m here today to represent generation 9/12, people who never experienced 9/11 but nevertheless suffer from its aftereffects. We “won’t, ever, forget.”

Nikita Shah wore a T-shirt with her father’s name, Jayesh Shah, and the de facto motto of the annual commemoration, “never forget.” She was 10 when he was killed.

Even though the family later relocated to Houston, Shah said that they still visit New York on 9/11 anniversaries to be “among people who kind of experienced the same type of loss and the same feelings after 9/11.”

Readers frequently add their own comments, which combine with general sentiments about September 11 to form an amalgam of American feelings: grief, anger, toughness, gratitude for first responders and the military, patriotic appeals, hopes for peace, sporadic political jabs, and a touching account of the graduations, weddings, births, and everyday life that victims have missed. A few readers draw attention to current affairs, this year’s examples include the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

Some relatives also lament that a nation that came together — to some extent — after the attacks have now been divided apart. After 9/11, federal law enforcement and intelligence organizations were reorganized to concentrate on domestic terrorism, but they now regard the threat posed by domestic violent extremism as equally critical.

“It needed tragedy to bring us together. The 1993 World Trade Center explosion, which was the precursor to 9/11, claimed the life of Andrew Colabella’s cousin, John DiGiovanni. He said: “It shouldn’t take another catastrophe to bring us together again.

Many Americans participated in volunteer work as communities across the nation observed the day with candlelight vigils, interfaith services, and other commemorations. Others remembered the event by reflecting on their own lives.

At Windows on the World, the eatery perched atop the north tower of the trade center, and more than 70 of Sekou Siby’s coworkers died. Due to a request from another cook to exchange shifts, he was given the day off.

The current head of the organization ROC United, which advocates for restaurant employees, Siby says that “every 9/11 is a reminder of what I lost that I can never recover.” Before the anniversary, he noted that being vulnerable to attacks had made him cautious about developing attachments to individuals because “you have no control over what’s going to happen to them next.”

After the attacks, Ginny Barnett volunteered at the Shanksville location and spent years trying to cope. By helping out with the memorial there right now, she eventually found hope.

Barnett stated on Sunday, “I have personally witnessed both the good and the terrible that man is capable of.” “With God’s assistance, we may prioritize and promote goodness rather than allowing hate and rage to control us.”

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Since 2014, Eliza Grace has worked as a reporter covering movies and other forms of media. She is particularly well-known for the humorous way in which she analyses film. On a regular basis, she contributes articles to The Current that are movie reviews as well as articles about the newest movies, video games, and entertainment news. Words from Eliza Grace: "There's a standard formula for success in the entertainment medium and that's: Beat it to death if it succeeds."