9/11 ‘can’t become just another day as the years pass’

'Tribute of Light' illuminates New York on 2013 anniversary of 9/11. (CNS photo/Reuters)

‘Tribute in Light’ illuminates New York on 2013 anniversary of 9/11. (CNS photo/Reuters)

This evening the “Tribute in Light” — two beams of light symbolizing the former twin towers of the World Trade Center — will illuminate the New York skyline as the city’s observance of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks comes to a close.

The day began with the somber recitation of the names of the victims of the 2001 attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York, Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon.

In New York, names were read from the site of the national 9/11 Memorial -– made up of a museum, a plaza and reflecting pools. Built on eight acres of the land previously occupied by the trade center, the complex pays tribute to the lives lost. New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral maintains a space on its website inviting people to share their memories of that fateful day.

In Shanksville, events at the National Park Service’s memorial to 9/11 included the first public display of the Congressional Gold Medal honoring the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93. A Congressional Gold Medal is highest civilian award U.S. Congress can give.

The southwestern Pennsylvania memorial was built in a field where Flight 93 crashed, forced to the ground by passengers who took control of the plane from terrorists who planned to fly to Washington.

At today’s ceremony there, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, who was speaker of the House the year of the attacks, paid tribute to the 33 who died in Shanksville. According to an AP story, he said that the U.S. Capitol “may not have remained standing” if the passengers and crew had not banded together to thwart the hijackers’ attempt to fly to the nation’s capital. Hastert donated to the park the flag that flew atop the Capitol on 9/11.

Large U.S. flag blows in wind outside national shrine in Washington on eve of 9/11 anniversary. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Large U.S. flag blows in wind outside national shrine in Washington on eve of 9/11 anniversary. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

At the Pentagon, Father Donald Rutherford, a major general and the Army’s chief of chaplains, was among those participating in a 9/11 observance there. Father Michael Parisi, a U.S. Navy chaplain who  holds the rank of captain, celebrated Mass in the chapel located in the part of the Pentagon where the 9/11 plane crashed.

Anniversary events and tributes to the victims of 9/11 took place all over the country.

“We will never forget the events of Sept. 11, 2001. It can’t become just another day as the years pass, and more and more people who were not born at the time or are too young to remember the day must not grow up without a sense of what occurred,” said an editorial in The Tablet, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York.

“Take the time and thank God for the gift of the lives of those men and women whom we loved and lost and whom we long to see again. A popular slogan after Sept. 11, 2001, read ‘9/11 – Never Forget.’ As men and women of faith, hope and charity, let’s never forget, and let’s teach the next generation to understand exactly what happened on that fateful Tuesday morning.”

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