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U.S. Marks 13 Years Since Sept. 11 Attacks

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Just hours after President Obama spoke to the nation about his plans for destroying the latest terrorist threat, a bell tolled in New York City this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL TOLLING)

SIEGEL: Thirteen years have passed since nearly 3,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The September 11th anniversary has become a ritual for the families and friends of victims. Though 13 years have passed, the commemorations were no less emotional and no less solemn. In New York, the ceremonies opened with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time the first of two planes struck the World Trade Center. And that's when family members began reciting the names of each person killed that day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOANNE BARBARA: Brian Joseph Cachia.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Steven Dennis Cafiero, Jr.

BARBARA: And my husband of 30 years, FDNY chief Gerard A. Barbara. May God bless America, and may we never, never forget.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And my uncle, Michael Taddonio. We all love and miss you every day, and we know you're watching over us.

SIEGEL: There were pauses in the readings marking the times the other attacks occurred. This is the first time New York's commemoration was led by the National September 11th Memorial and Museum Foundation instead of the city.

CORNISH: In Washington, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden met at the South Lawn to share a moment of silence.

(SOUNDBITE OF HORN PLAYING)

CORNISH: At the Pentagon, Major General Stephen Townsend reflected on the way 9/11 changed the nation.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

STEPHEN TOWNSEND: We'll never forget those images of that day. It fundamentally changed the way most of us think about our lives. Most of us now think about our life before 9/11 and after 9/11.

SIEGEL: The president also spoke at a private ceremony for family members of victims at the Pentagon. He told them, 13 years after small and hateful minds conspired to break us, America stands tall, and America stands proud.

CORNISH: In Pennsylvania at the Flight 93 Memorial, Governor Tom Corbett oversaw ceremonies. Back in New York, twin beams of light will shine through the night, representing the destroyed towers. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.