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United States & World

The Legacy Of 9/11, Two Decades Later

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is a special edition of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're glad you're with us as we along with you have been spending the day remembering and commemorating the 9/11 attacks. We're going to continue with that this hour, putting our focus on how that one day changed so much in the United States and in Afghanistan for so many people who've had to live with the aftermath of 9/11 in the most painful personal ways. You'll hear some of their voices throughout the hour.

The day began with solemn ceremonies to remember those who died in the attacks 20 years ago in Manhattan, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa. The names of the victims were read aloud as they have been on this date for the past two decades. Here are some of the other sounds from the ceremony at ground zero in New York this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF MEMORIAL CEREMONY)

MIKE LOW: The moment of silence we just shared marks the very moment 20 years ago that American Airlines Flight 11 flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

MARTIN: President Biden visited all three 9/11 locations today but did not speak at any of the ceremonies. Instead, he released a statement last night in which Biden recalled the sense of unity many felt in the aftermath of the attacks.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: To me, that's - the central lesson of September 11 is that at our most vulnerable, in the push and pull of all that makes us human, in the battle for the soul of America, unity is our greatest strength.

MARTIN: Former Presidents Obama and Clinton both attended the ceremony in New York, while former President George W. Bush was at the one in Shanksville, where United Flight 93 crashed after passengers confronted the hijackers. Bush spoke about the way the attacks instantly altered his presidency and the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE W BUSH: Twenty years ago, we all found in different ways, in different places but all at the same moment that our lives would be changed forever. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.