Memorials and services for the September 11 attacks

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2004 Tribute in Light memorial

The first memorials to the victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001 began to take shape online, as hundreds of webmasters posted their own thoughts, links to the Red Cross and other rescue agencies, photos, and eyewitness accounts. Numerous online September 11 memorials began appearing a few hours after the attacks, although many of these memorials were only temporary.[1] Around the world, U.S. embassies and consulates became makeshift memorials as people came out to pay their respects.

The Tribute in Light was the first major physical memorial at the World Trade Center site. A permanent memorial and museum, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, were built as part of the design for overall site redevelopment. The Memorial consists of two massive pools set within the original footprints of the Twin Towers with 30-foot (9.1 m) waterfalls cascading down their sides. The names of the victims of the attacks are inscribed around the edges of the waterfalls. Other permanent memorials are being constructed around the world.

One of the places that saw many memorials and candlelight vigils was Pier A in Hoboken, New Jersey. There was also a memorial service on March 11, 2002, at dusk on Pier A when the Tribute in Light first turned on, marking the half-year anniversary of the terrorist attack. A permanent September 11 memorial for Hoboken, called Hoboken Island, was chosen in September 2004.


Temporary memorials[edit]

The World Trade Center cross was a temporary memorial at Ground Zero

Soon after the attacks, temporary memorials were set up in New York and elsewhere.

  • On October 4, Reverend Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest, blessed the World Trade Center cross, two broken beams at the crash site which had formed a cross, and then had been welded together by iron-workers.
  • On October 13, the North Charleston Coliseum raised a special banner featuring the retired number of Mark Bavis, who was on United Airlines Flight 175. Bavis had played for the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays, and his retired number hangs in a special corner, independently from the Stingrays' retired numbers (#14, #24) and awards banners (1997 and 2001 Kelly Cup Championships), with the years he played for the team (1994–96), the date of his death (September 11, 2001), and an American flag.
  • Also on October 13, The September 11 Photo Project was founded. The Project was a not-for-profit community based photo exhibit in response to the September 11 attacks and their aftermath. It toured seven cities over two years, collected photographs from more than 700 participants, and had over 300,000 visitors over its run. The Project provided a venue for the display of photographs accompanied by captions by anyone who wished to participate. The exhibit aimed to preserve a record of the spontaneous outdoor shrines that were being swept away by rain or wind or collected by the city for historical preservation. The Project was also made into a book titled “The September 11 Photo Project" in May 2002. It has sold over 60,000 copies to date.
  • On March 11, 2002, the damaged sculpture, The Sphere, formerly displayed in the World Trade Center, was dedicated by the city as a temporary memorial in Battery Park City.[2]

In other countries[edit]

Iranian girl with her mother turning candle light at Tehran, remembering the September 11 attacks
  • According to Radio Farda's website, when the attacks' news was released, some Iranian citizens gathered in front of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran, which serves as the protecting power of the United States in Iran (US interests protecting office in Iran), to express their sympathy and some of them lit candles as a symbol of mourning. This piece of news at Radio Farda's website also states that in 2011, on the anniversary of the attacks, United States Department of State, published a post at its blog, in which the Department thanked Iranian people for their sympathy and stated that they would never forget Iranian people's kindness on those harsh days.[3] After the attacks, both the President and the Supreme Leader of Iran, condemned the attacks. BBC and Time magazine published reports on holding candlelit vigils for the victims by Iranian citizens at their websites.[4][5]

Permanent memorials[edit]


Bronze wall mural dedicated to the fallen firefighters, South of the WTC site
A graffiti tribute to 9/11 in Melbourne, Australia that reads "Evil never wins"
Series of hand-painted tiles, dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks, on the fence of a car-lot in New York City
Flight 93 temporary memorial in Pennsylvania
View of a Memorial from Jersey City, New Jersey, that faces the former location of the Twin Towers
Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery for victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
September 11 Memorial at the Texas State Cemetery with two girders removed from the WTC wreckage
Steel from the World Trade Center is poured for construction of USS New York (LPD-21)
Steel recovered from the World Trade Center displayed on USS New York (LPD-21)
Monroe Community College September 11 Memorial
Logan Airport September 11 memorial in Boston
Myrtle Beach 9/11 Unity Memorial
Memorial in Ocean City, Maryland honoring the New York City firefighters who lost their lives in the attacks, complete with a piece of the World Trade Center
Clyde, North Carolina's WTC monument

Other designations[edit]

  • The New Britain Museum of American Art commissioned painter Graydon Parrish to create the allegorical painting The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy in memory of New Britain native Scott O'Brien, who was killed in the attacks.[60]
  • The LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation, established in memory of United 93 First Officer LeRoy Homer by his widow Melodie Homer. The Foundation awards up to three scholarships annually from applicants ages 16 – 23 residing within the United States as citizens or resident aliens. The scholarship program is funded through private donations, corporate contributions, and grant requests. The Foundation also promotes awareness of aviation as a career choice, with a focus on providing information to women and minorities who are underrepresented in the US pilot population.[61]
  • The US Navy named three ships—New York,[62] Arlington,[63] and Somerset,[64]—in commemoration of the locations where the planes crashed during the attacks: New York State; Arlington, Virginia; and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
  • MTA bus 2185, which was heavily damaged in the collapse of the World Trade Center was restored and repainted with a special American flag scheme on its sides and rear.[65]
  • At the end of August in 2011, community leaders and a local crane company in Kennewick,WA helped erect a 6,000 pound steel beam from one of the twin towers in the center of a local high school´s sports complex.

Performances and benefits[edit]

2001 events[edit]

The Raoul Wallenberg Award was given to New York City in 2001 "For all of its citizens who searched for the missing, cared for the injured, gave comfort to loved ones of the missing or lost, and provided sustenance and encouragement to those who searched through the rubble at Ground Zero."

2002 and later events[edit]

On February 3, 2002, during the Halftime Show of Super Bowl XXXVI, rock group U2 performed Where the Streets Have No Name, while the names of the victims were projected onto banners. Bono opened his jacket to reveal a U.S. flag pattern sewn in the inside lining.

On February 23, 2003, the 45th Annual Grammy Awards were held at Madison Square Garden and paid tribute to those who died during the 9/11 attacks, to whom the ceremony was dedicated. Ceremony host Bruce Springsteen performed "The Rising" at the Awards.

American country singer Darryl Worley paid tribute to the people with his 2003 single, "Have You Forgotten?" from the album of the same name.

Newark International Airport was renamed "Newark Liberty International Airport".[66][67]

On September 11, 2002, representatives from over 90 countries came to Battery Park City as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lit an eternal flame to mark the first anniversary of the attacks. Leading the dignitaries were Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Bloomberg, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. The same day, the Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial was dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery near the Pentagon. The memorial is dedicated to the five individuals at the Pentagon whose remains were never found, and the partial remains of another 25 victims are buried beneath the memorial.[68] The names of the 184 victims of the Pentagon attack are inscribed on the memorial's side.

10th anniversary memorial services[edit]

Many organizations held memorial services and events for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

  • The official New York City observance of the 10th anniversary of September 11 took place at the World Trade Center site at 8:40am – 12:30pm Sunday, September 11, 2011. Zuccotti Park, Liberty Street between Broadway and Church Streets. Four moments of silence were observed to commemorate the times when each plane hit and each tower fell, starting at 8:46 a.m.
  • At sunset, the Tribute in Light dual search light lit the skies above New York City for the night of 9/11/11.
  • Liquid Church[69] held Memorial worship services in three cities in New Jersey: Montclair, Morristown, and New Brunswick on 9/11/11 at 9:30am and 11:30am in each city. The church also commissioned and recorded a tribute song written by Dave Pettigrew & Frank Di Minno called, "There is Hope."
  • In Radcliff Kentucky at the Kentucky Veteran's Cemetery Central, a committee of local citizens worked on a memorial effort taking only 8 weeks from the time of receipt of a piece of steel from the World Trade Center to the Tenth Anniversary remembrance ceremony. In that time they developed a concept design, found companies willing to donate time, labor, technical expertise, and material, and began a fund raising effort which allowed a memorial to be erected solely on private funding. This memorial completed phase I in these 8 weeks and now enters phase II. Hundreds of citizens assembled during the remembrance ceremony held for the Tenth Anniversary on Sunday, September 11.

Annual commemorations[edit]

Every year on September 11 a commemoration is held at the National September 11 Memorial. Family members read the names of victims of the attacks, as well as victims of the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing.[70] Elected officials and other dignitaries attend, but since the 2012 event they have not given speeches.[71]

  • The Tribute in Light project consists of 88 searchlights placed next to the site of the World Trade Center created two vertical columns of light. The tribute began in 2001, and is now made every year on September 11.[72][73][74]

Memorial flags[edit]

The National 9/11 Flag was made from a tattered remains of a 30-foot (9.1 m) American flag found by recovery workers in the early morning of September 12, 2001. It was hanging precariously from some scaffolding at a construction site next to Ground Zero. Because of safety reasons the flag could not be taken down until late October 2001. Charlie Vitchers, a construction superintendent for the Ground Zero cleanup effort, had a crew recover the flag. It was placed in storage for seven years.[75]

The flag has made a number appearances across the country including a Boston Red Sox Game, a New York Giants Home Opener, and the USS New York Commissioning Ceremony. It also appeared on the CBS Evening News and on ABC World News Tonight "Persons of the Week."[76]

The flag began a national tour on Flag day, which was on June 14, 2009. It will visit all 50 states where service heroes, veterans, and other honorees will each add stitching and material from other retired American flags in order to restore the original 13 stripes of the flag. The flag will have a permanent home at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.[77]

The 9-11 Remembrance Flag was created to be a permanent reminder of the thousands of people lost in the September 11 attacks. The purpose of keeping the memories of September 11 alive is not to be forever mourning, but for "learning from the circumstances and making every effort to prevent similar tragedies in our future." The flag is also meant to be a reminder of how the people of this country came together to help each other after the attacks. The red background of the flag represents the blood shed by Americans for their country. The stars represent the lost airplanes and their passengers. The blue rectangles stand for the twin towers and the white pentagon represents the Pentagon building. The blue circle symbolizes the unity of this country after the attacks.

The 9/11 National Remembrance Flag was designed by Stephan and Joanne Galvin soon after September 11, 2001. They wanted to do something to help and were inspired by a neighbor's POW/MIA flag. They wanted to sell the flag so people would remember the September 11 attacks and in order to raise money for relief efforts. The blue represents the colors of the state flags that were involved in the attacks. The black represents sorrow for innocent lives lost. The four stars stand for the four planes that crashed and the lives lost, both in the crash and in the rescue efforts, as well as the survivors. The blue star is a representation of American Airlines Flight 77 and the Pentagon. The two white stars represent American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines flight 175, as well as the twin towers. The red star stands for United Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and all those who sacrifice their lives to protect the innocent. The colors of the stars represent the American flag. The four stars are touching each other and the blue parts of the flag in order to symbolize the unity of the people of the United States.

The National Flag of Honor and the National Flag of Heroes were created by John Michelotti for three main reasons: (1)"To immortalize the individual victims that were killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001." (2)"To give comfort to the families left behind knowing that their loved one will be forever honored and remembered." (2)"To create an enduring symbol, recognized by the world, of the human sacrifice that occurred on September 11, 2001."

The Flag of Honor and the Flag of Heroes are based on the American flag. They both have the names of all the innocent people who were killed in the September 11 attacks printed on the red and white stripes of the American Flag. Both flags have a white space across the bottom with the name of the flag and a description printed in black. The Flag of Honor reads: "This flag contains the names of those killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11. Now and forever it will represent their immortality. We shall never forget them" The Flag of Heroes reads: " This flag contains the names of the emergency service personnel who gave their lives to save others in the terrorist attacks of September 11. Now and forever it will represent their immortality. We shall never forget them."

The Flag of Honor and the Flag of Heroes were featured at the NYC 9/11 Memorial Field 5th Anniversary in Manhattan's Inwood Hill Park September 8–12, 2006. There 3,000 flags which represented those who died in the September 11 attacks.[78] The flags were also featured on the msnbc Today Show[79] and on ABC 13 News, Norfolk, VA.[80]

The Remembrance Flag has a white background with large, black Roman numerals IX/XI in the center and four black stars across the top. The IX/XI are the Roman numerals for 9/11. The four stars represent World Trade Center North, World Trade Center South, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA.

The 10th Anniversary September 11 Memorial Flag was designed by Carrot-Top Industries, a privately owned company in Hillsborough, NC. The exclusive 9/11 memorial flag was designed with the two World Trade Towers set inside a pentagon decorated with a ribbon to commemorate all of the Americans that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

Virtual memorials[edit]

The growing popularity of virtual worlds such as Secondlife has led to the construction of permanent virtual memorials and exhibits. Examples include:

  • Celestial Requiem NYC (SecondLife)[81] is a virtual recreation of a submitted physical memorial proposal:

    On September 11, 2007, a virtual reality World Trade Center Memorial will be presented to the people of the world. The location is in Second Life, on the island we have named after the original design: Celestial Requiem NYC. We have built this memorial because, to be blunt, the world needed it done years ago, and the two years longer to await the completion of the Reflected Absence memorial in New York city (by Michael Arad and Peter Walker) was in our opinion two years too long.[82]

  • World Trade Center Memorial (SecondLife)[83] is focused on the victims of 9/11, reminiscent of the Memorial Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Planned September 11 memorials[edit]

  • Palm Harbor 9/11 Memorial, Palm Harbor, Florida – This memorial broke ground on March 30, 2012. It will be designed around a 150-pound piece of World Trade Center steel provided (and still owned) by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[84]

Picture gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]