Light tributes shone across America for 9/11 as the country paid their respects on the 19th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.
The coronavirus pandemic meant there were enforced alterations to usual ceremonies and the upcoming presidential election saw both Donald Trump and Joe Biden pay their respects without crossing each others path.
On the eve of the anniversary a federal judge directed the Saudi Arabian government to make officials available for depositions about their knowledge of the terror attack.
This includes as many as 24 current and former officials such as Prince Bandar, the former ambassador to the United States, according to Yahoo! News.
The order has been praised by families of the 9/11 victims as a milestone in their years-long effort to prove that some Saudi officials were either complicit in the attacks or had knowledge of the hijackers plans months before.
However the effect of the ruling may depend on the willingness of the Saudi government to make its citizens available for testimony as some figures no longer hold positions and therefore cannot be compelled to testify.
The question of possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks by Saudi officials has been a subject of intense debate for years but it is something the Saudis have consistently denied.
Lawyers for the victim’s families have developed a circumstantial case that two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, received financial support from individuals associated with the Saudi government.
In New York, the annual ‘Tribute in Light’ was almost cancelled after the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said there was a virus risk to the installation crew. The tribute shone above the Manhattan skyline last night
In Washington, a tower of blue light shone over the Pentagon one of many changes to the annual remembrance last night. It will remain lit until the early hours of Saturday 12
A special light tribute was displayed in Washington DC to honor the 2,977 lives lost that day.
The Towers of Light could be seen in the sky near the Pentagon where Flight 77 slammed into the building that fateful morning, piloted by al Qaeda terrorists. On Friday, the Pentagon also unfurled a remembrance flag:
In New York, the annual ‘Tribute in Light’ was almost cancelled after the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said there was a virus risk to the installation crew.
A similar light display will also be seen at the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation illuminated its ‘Towers of Light’ tribute next to the Pentagon on Wednesday, and it will remain lit until the early hours of Saturday 12.
This is to honor the lives lost in Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon after being hijacked, killing all 64 passengers, six crew and 125 people in the building.
Military leaders will conduct the Pentagon’s ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording.
Although they won’t be read on-site, victims’ relatives can visit the Pentagon’s memorial in small groups later Friday.
Light tributes to September 11 victims shone across Washington as America begins commemorating the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks
Tributes paid to those who lost their lives have been altered this year, with restrictions in place due to Covid-19
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both plan to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania on Friday, though not at the same time.
Trump is speaking at a morning ceremony, with Biden paying respects in the afternoon.
It will also be the first time since taking office that neither President Donald Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence will be at the Pentagon ceremony.
Pence plans to participate in remembrance ceremonies in New York City, first visiting Ground Zero before attending the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation event.
Biden will also attend the main New York memorial before heading to Pennsylvania.
Military leaders will conduct the Pentagon’s ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording
In New York, the double beams of light that evoke the fallen twin towers were nearly canceled in the name of virus safety, until an uproar restored the tribute.
The Fire Department cited the virus in urging members to skip observances of the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, among them almost 350 firefighters.
Some victims’ relatives say they understand the ground zero observance had to change in a year when so much else has.
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum cancelled its tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead aloud.
It will offer a recording instead to those gathered at the World Trade Center site.
Many events will take place online and not in front of crowds, like the large flag unfurling at the Pentagon
‘It’s another smack in the face,’ says Jim Riches, who lost his son Jimmy, a firefighter.
The father is staying home on the anniversary for the first time this year because he doesn’t want to take chances with the coronavirus after a prior illness.
But he feels others should have the option of reciting the names of the dead on the memorial plaza, instead of listening to a recording.
Some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact.
A different 9/11 group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up a simultaneous ceremony in response to this in New York.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual ‘Tribute in Light’ will also go ahead after the memorial announced last month it was nixing the twin blue beams
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual ‘Tribute in Light’ will also go ahead after it was announced last month the twin blue beams that shine into the night sky over lower Manhattan were to be cancelled.
While there’s no official gathering to view the lights, the memorial cited virus risks to the installation crew.
The cancellation outraged some victims’ relatives, police and fire unions and politicians, who noted that construction sites around the city were deemed safe to reopen months ago.
After the Tunnel to Towers foundation said it would organize the display on its own, Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on