Americans celebrate the 21st anniversary of 9/11 with tributes to those who died in the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil.

The commemoration began with a tolling of the bell and a moment of silence at Ground Zero, the former site of the Twin Towers in New York, which were destroyed after hijacked planes crashed into them on September 11, 2001.

Relatives and dignitaries of the victims also gathered at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania, where other planes hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists crashed.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in total.

9/11: How the terrorist attacks unfolded minute by minute

Communities celebrate the day with candlelit vigils, interfaith services and other commemorations.

Some joined volunteer projects on a federally recognized date as both Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

More on 9/11 terrorist attacks

President Joe Biden laid a wreath at the Pentagon, where he said: “We will never forget, we will never give up. Our commitment to prevent another attack on the United States is endless.”

One of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in a US air strike in Afghanistan last month.

First Lady Jill Biden spoke in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where one of the planes crashed after passengers and crew attempted to storm the cockpit as the hijackers made their way to Washington.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended the National September 11 Memorial in New York, where relatives of the victims read aloud the names of the dead.

Read more:
Twenty years later, the United States and the world face painful reflection

Some are forced to remember, others want, but New York will never forget

The family attends a funeral service in Manhattan, taking photos of their lost loved ones
Families attend a funeral service in Manhattan

“Every 9/11 is a reminder of what I’ve lost”

Observances follow a tense anniversary of last year’s milestonewhich arrived weeks later the chaotic and humiliating end of the war in Afghanistan that the United States launched in response to the attacks.

In addition to spurring the war on terror, the attack sparked a sense of national pride and unity among many, subjecting American Muslims to years of suspicion and bigotry.

The attacks have cast a long shadow on the personal lives of thousands who have survived, responded to or lost loved ones, friends and colleagues.

More than 70 of Sekou Siby’s colleagues have died at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the mall’s north tower.

Mr. Siby, an Ivorian immigrant, had to work that morning until another cook asked him to change his shift. He never took a job in a restaurant again and struggled to understand the horrors he witnessed.

“Every 9/11 is a reminder of what I have lost that I will never be able to recover,” said Siby.

He is now president and CEO of the ROC United catering worker advocacy group, which has evolved from a rescue center for Windows on the World workers who lost their jobs when the twin towers fell.

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