NEW YORK, september, 11 2016- Thousands of mourners including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gathered at Ground Zero Sunday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The day of remembrance of one of the darkest days in the nation’s history started with the annual reading of the names of the 2,977 innocent lives that were taken during the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the commercial airliner that crashed in a central Pennsylvania field.
A moment of silence was observed six times throughout the ceremony, starting at 8:46 a.m. — the exact time the first plane crashed into the North Tower. The final somber silence was set for 10:28 a.m., when the North Tower crumbled to the ground.
Many of the thousands of people who were at the ceremony were grieving family members of the victims, including Tom Aquaviva, whose 29-year-old son Paul was killed in the attack.
“15 years means the same thing as 14 years,” he said. “We come every year year, plus some other times. I’m glad there are more people here today because the crowd was getting less and less.”
“People still remember,” he added. “That’s the important thing.”
Prior to the morning ceremonies, outgoing Police Commissioner Bill Bratton reminded the NYPD to remember the bravery their colleagues displayed in the minutes, hours and days following the terror attacks.
“We cannot forget, and we will not forget — partly because of the plaques in too many precincts and the names on too many streets, partly because cops who served and suffered and survived that day still wear the uniform, and not least because officers among us are still dying,” he said in a message to his officers.
“It’s good that we don’t forget, because what they did is worth remembering,” Bratton added.
Trump arrived around 8:15 a.m. at the North Pool to cheers from the crowd while several families of 9/11 victims took out their cellphones to snap a picture of the Republican presidential nominee.
Former President George W. Bush, who served as commander-in-chief during the attacks, was not at the ceremony. Instead, he attended a church ceremony in Dallas and then was scheduled to attend the Dallas Cowboys opener against the New York Giants, where he will do a coin toss with two NYPD heroes that bravely served at Ground Zero.
President Obama observed a moment of silence at the White House at 8:46 a.m. before heading to the Pentagon, where he will deliver a speech at their ceremony that remembers the 180 killed there. (nypost.com)