Fabienne Kinzelmann, New York
The security measures are extreme: emergency services spread all over the city, dogs, black box vans everywhere. Exactly 20 years after the first passenger jet hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center, the commemoration of the 2977 people who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 begins at Ground Zero in New York (USA). The names of those killed are read out between the two memorial fountains – for several hours.
“I left my heart here back then,” says Howard Kaplan (70), a retired firefighter from Los Angeles who worked here for 18 days in 2001. “It helps me come back. And I’m also happy to see that New York is no longer the ghost town it was back then. “
Many young people also show their respect
Kaplan is – like hundreds of people in front of the barriers on Church Street – 200 meters away from the official memorial service: people with very different fates and stories. There is, for example, the Fontanez fire brigade family from Florida. Or Joe Walker, a 33-year-old in a flashy US flag outfit, who says he lived in the immediate vicinity at the time and that his eyes get wet behind his sunglasses when you ask him about it. A striking number of young people are among the visitors.
“I was afraid that something like this could happen in my hometown Detroit,” remembers Michael Reiber (25). It is important to him to be here and show respect. “The attacks have had an impact on the lives of all of us,” says Juliana Lydon, who is the same age from California. “Right after that we started a war that has only ended now.”
Ex-President Bush compares the Capitol attack to foreign terrorism
George W. Bush (75), the US President who let the US Army invade Afghanistan after the attacks, is in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Remembrance Day. Here passengers brought the fourth hijacked jet – Flight 93 – to the crash. “Many owe their lives to the resistance in the sky over this field,” said Bush, paying tribute to the dead in a speech.
Particularly noteworthy were Bush’s words on today’s terrorist threats. Eight months after Trump supporters rushed the Washington Capitol, the Republican warned of domestic extremism.
“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” said Bush. “But in their contempt for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to tarnish national symbols, they are children of the same evil spirit, and it is our ongoing duty to oppose them.”
Trump wants to visit Ground Zero
Bush’s Republican successor to the presidency did not attend an official memorial service yesterday – instead he wanted to comment on a boxing match. Donald Trump (75) then reacted to severe criticism by announcing that he wanted to stop by Ground Zero after the commemoration ceremony.
Trump fan Hedy Aldina is happy that he is coming. The name of her idol dangles around the neck of the woman who does not want to reveal her age. She waves flags in the midst of the crowd on Church Street. But apart from reporters, nobody gives the New Yorker a look.