9/11 in Remembrance as Families Gather at World Trade Center Site for Those Lost 18 Years Ago
IBexclusive News Wednesday September 11, 2019.
(IBEXNews) - The families and friends of 9/11 victims, in a memorial service both familiar and freshly heartbreaking, gathered Wednesday for an 18th year to remember the 2,753 victims of Ground Zero.
The somber service, typically devoid of politics, began as its always does: With a moment of silence and tolling bells at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first hijacked plane slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
But things took a sudden turn from the typical when Nicholas Haros Jr., whose 76-year-old mother Frances was among the 9/11 dead, ripped Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota after reading from the list of those killed in Lower Manhattan. Haros wore a T-shirt with Omar’s quote “some people did something,” a reference to comments she made earlier this year about 9/11.
“Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done,” said Haros, referencing the al-Qaeda attackers inside the two planes and mastermind Osama bin Laden. “Our constitutional freedoms were attacked, and our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian values was attacked. That’s what ‘some people’ did. Got that now?”
The ordinarily somber audience applauded the comments as Haros exited. Afterward, he said Omar owed the American people more than her remarks indicated.
“At the minimum, the person elected by Americans should have sympathy for Americans,” he said. “And so far, I think that has been lacking.”
Omar has said her remarks were taken out of context.
Just a short time earlier, reader Debra Epps delivered a plea for tighter gun laws after invoking the name of her brother and 9/11 victim Christopher.
“This country — in 18 years, you would think it had made changes to bring us to more peace," she said to applause. “However, gun violence has gone rampant. We can live in peace and hope in the land of the brave.”
This year’s memorial came beneath blue skies reminiscent of the sunny September morning when Islamic terrorists took down the two 110-story buildings. The service once again brought together the survivors, giving them a chance to revisit the 16 acres where the World Trade Center once rose into the Manhattan skyline.
“In many ways this is my cemetery," said Margie Miller, whose husband Joel died on the 97th floor in his office. “He loved his work here, he loved being here, he died here and this is the place I feel closest to him. So I come here as often as I can but especially today.”
“I’ve learned to live with the grief ... and it’s healing to be here, it’s good to be with this community," she added. “I am grateful they offer this opportunity to us.”
The annual acknowledgment of the dead once again featured with relatives reciting the sad litany of the dead in the quiet of the hallowed ground in Lower Manhattan. The victims were firefighters and cops, financial workers and maintenance workers, employees of the Port Authority — all killed in the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.
The bells that opened the service rang again at 9:03 a.m., the time when the second plane hit the south tower, and twice more at 9:59 a.m. and 10:28 a.m. — the moments when the south and then the north towers collapsed.
Some family members turned out in memory of those lost working in the toxic rubble of the towers, digging vainly in hopes of finding survivors before the search turned into a grim mission to recover the bodies of first responders and others.