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The Latest: Tribute in Light rises from twin towers site

NEW YORK – The Latest on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

NEW YORK — The skies where the twin towers of the World Trade Center formerly stood are once again being lit up with the Tribute in Light.

The annual display sends up two powerful beams that can be seen from miles around from dusk to dawn, in memory of those lost in the Sept. 11 attacks 19 years ago.

The tribute had almost been put aside this year, as its display was initially canceled by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum over concerns for the safety of the installation crew from the coronavirus.

That caused an outcry, and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation pledged to put the lights up nearby, until the memorial got support from its chair, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have the lights shine.

Tunnel to Towers also arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

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2:05 p.m.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — Former Vice President Joe Biden laid a wreath under First Officer LeRoy Homer’s name at the Flight 93 memorial, before going to greet some of Homer’s family members with elbow bumps.

Biden went on to greet another family of a Flight 93 victim, as well as a young bagpipe player, whom he asked about her college plans.

He spoke to a few people gathered about his respect for the passengers on the flight that sacrificed themselves to help bring it down, and said sacrifices like theirs “mark the character of a country.”

“This is a country that never, never, never, never, never, never gives up,” he said.

Biden then visited the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department, where he delivered a Bundt cake and pastries to a couple of firefighters.

About two dozen community members were gathered to see the former Vice President and his wife. Biden said that the last time he was there, he said he’d bring beer - and he came through, presenting two six packs to a group of firefighters there.

President Donald Trump delivered a speech at a commemoration event in Shanksville earlier Friday.

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2:05 p.m.

FREEPORT, Maine — The three women dubbed the “Freeport flag ladies” came out of retirement on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Decked out in red, white and blue, Elaine Greene, Carmen Footer, and JoAnn Miller joined Friday in a commemoration in their hometown.

“Our country is going through so much right now. If we can just bring them back to the day after 9/11, when everyone came together,” Greene said. “No one was red and blue. We were red, white and blue. There was not any political ideologies. We were all Americans.”

The women waved their flags on Main Street after the 9/11 attacks, and it became a weekly ritual over the next 18 years.

They officially ended the weekly tradition last year, citing health concerns. They range from 75 to 84 in age. Several dignitaries, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins, joined them for the event on Friday.

Flags were at half-staff across the state.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills said the terrorist attacks united the nation.

“While terrorists that day took from us our loved ones, including cherished members of our Maine community, they also revealed the unshakable character and strength of the American spirit,” she said.

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11:30 a.m.

NEW YORK — Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said it’s “disgraceful” that the official 9/11 commemoration event features only prerecorded name readings.

“If I were the mayor of this city you wouldn’t be allowed to hold a ceremony with prerecorded names,” Giuliani told reporters before a separate ceremony nearby ground zero. “I’d take the recording and burn it.”

Sept. 11 memorial plaza officials said they made the change as a coronavirus-safety precaution. The separate ceremony held near the memorial included people reading victims’ names aloud.

“I find it disgraceful that their names are being recited, prerecorded. I see that, whether it’s witting or unwitting, as part of the movement of denial,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani, who was widely lauded for his empathetic response to the attacks, said he promised that day never to forget.

“I don’t mean to be divisive or anything else, but I remember who killed them. I remember who did it. I remember the movement that did it,” he said. “And unlike some people who practice denial, I know they want to come here and kill us again.”

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11:30 a.m.

NEW YORK — Jin Hee Cho’s younger sister, Kyung, died in the Sept. 11 attacks. She worked on the 99th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center complex and had just turned 30.

Cho, 55, said she feels immense loss at the annual event at the memorial plaza. She said she can’t shake the thought of her sister dying, taken back to that day as she stands amid a rebuilt tower, memorial pool, a museum and extravagant transit hub.

“When the tower went down, it’s just hard to delete that in my mind. I understand there’s all this, and I understand now that we have even COVID,“ she said. "It’s weird but I only feel the loss, the devastating loss of my flesh and blood sister. I just can’t delete that and in my mind. I understand it’s been 19 years and all the changes, but that devastation of the loss, it’s still there. I can’t delete it. I tried. I just can’t.”

Cho attended the annual ceremony on the memorial plaza and said she wasn’t aware of the simultaneous event run by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. She said the day remains profound to families of people who died that day, even if is fading from prominence among the greater populace.

“You really have to know the true feeling of the loss,” Cho said. “If you’re not family, I understand they try to support you as best as they can, but if you’re not a family member, it’s hard to understand that the true depth of the feeling.”

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10:55 a.m.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — President Donald Trump marked the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on Friday with a patriotic message for the world: “No matter the threat. No matter the odds. America will always rise up, stand tall and fight back.”

Trump delivered a sobering speech in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93, hijacked by terrorists, crashed in a field, killing all 40 aboard. Former Vice President Joe Biden is to visit Shanksville later Friday after attending the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at ground zero in New York.

Trump paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died in Shanksville, New York and at the Pentagon.

“To the family members of Flight 93, today every heartbeat in America is wedded to yours,” Trump said. “Your pain and anguish is the shared grief of our whole nation. ... While we cannot erase your pain, we can help to shoulder your burden.”

Trump also noted that America came together after 9/11.

“It was a unity based on love for our families, care for our neighbors, loyalty to our fellow citizens, pride in our great flag, gratitude for our police and first responders, faith in God and a refusal to bend our will to the depraved forces of violence, intimidation, oppression and evil."

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10:50 a.m.

NEW YORK — At the World Trade Center memorial plaza, Michael Brady said he wasn’t going to let the coronavirus deter him from honoring his brother this year.

Brady’s brother, David, had a breakfast meeting on 9/11 atop one of the fallen towers.

This year’s scaled-down ceremony includes a recorded roll call of victims instead of the usual custom of family members reading them aloud. Michael Brady said that’s OK with him and his family.

“We just want to hear his name,” said Brady, who has been a name reader at past 9/11 ceremonies.

The Wyckoff, New Jersey resident said his brother, who had four children under nine when he died, was the focal point of the family. He is still desperately missed.

“When you come every year you see a lot of the same faces,” he said “We still get the same text messages from the same people every year thinking about David, and no, people don’t forget at all.”

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10:30 a.m.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — In a speech marking the Sept. 11 attacks on America, President Donald Trump said that the victims will forever be a reminder that “no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall and fight back.”

Trump is delivering a sobering, patriotic speech in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93, hijacked by terrorists, crashed in a field, killing all 40 on board.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is to visit Shanksville later Friday after attending the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at ground zero in New York.

Trump said that during the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in Shanksville, New York and at the Pentagon, the world witnessed American courage and sacrifice. He is honoring first responders and said that the “deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women – the amazing passengers and crew of Flight 93.”

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9:55 a.m.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are attending the ceremony to remember the 40 passengers and crew who died after terrorists commandeered Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville in western Pennsylvania marks the spot where the plane crashed in a rural area at 10:03 a.m.

Before stepping off the plane, the president and Melania Trump observed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., marking the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center 19 years ago.

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9:30 a.m.

NEW YORK — Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, read Bible passages at the 9/11 commemoration organized by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Before the beginning of the ceremony at nearby ground zero, Pence and Joe Biden greeted each other with an elbow bump.

Both men wore face coverings.

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9:05 a.m.

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — President Donald Trump and the first lady observed a moment of silence aboard Air Force One at 8:46 p.m., marking the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center 19 years ago.

Some reporters traveling with the president were invited to join the couple in the plane’s conference room.

Everyone stood.

The president was en route to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where he is scheduled to speak at the annual event commemorating the site where the hijacked Flight 93 crashed in a field, killing all on board.

Trump’s 2020 Democratic rival, Joe Biden, will be visiting the site late Friday.

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8:46 a.m.

NEW YORK — The chime of a bell at the World Trade Center memorial plaza has signaled the start of commemorations of the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

New York is observing a citywide moment of silence to mark the moment a hijacked plane struck the Trade Center’s north tower.

Five more moments of silence will follow in the ceremony. They recognize the moments when other aircraft struck the second tower, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, and when each Trade Center tower collapsed.

A dispute over coronavirus precautions means there are two commemorations in New York Friday.

At the official ceremony on the memorial plaza, organizers concerned about bringing too many people together are playing a recording of people reading the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks.

At a simultaneous ceremony up the street, loved ones will continue the tradition of having those names read in person.

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8:25 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Vowing to never forget the nearly 3,000 people who died on 9/11, President Donald Trump headed on Friday to Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

His Democratic challenger Joe Biden was traveling to New York, saying that he will be taking a break from politics to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Trump tweeted that the United States is honoring a commitment made in 2001 to always remember the nearly 3,000 “innocent Americans who were senselessly killed.”

Biden told reporters before boarding a plane in Wilmington, Delaware, headed for New York that his campaign has taken its advertising down and won’t be holding any press conferences. The former vice president plans to visit Shanksville later in the afternoon.

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8:25 a.m.

NEW YORK — Kathy Swift, 61, arrived early to the Tunnel to Towers ceremony.

Swift, of Jersey City, wore a T-shirt honoring her brother Thomas Swift, who was 30 and working for Morgan Stanley when he died in the South Tower.

A dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to two simultaneous remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner, held by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Another brother, Patrick Swift, will be among the readers.

“We’ve still gotta come,” Kathy Swift said. “We still have to remember ... The whole country’s going downhill. It’s one thing after another, and now with the COVID. I’m glad they’re still having this, though, Tunnel to Towers."

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1:30 a.m.

On the anniversary of 9/11, Bernard Kerik, Former NYPD Commissioner and a member of the Advisory Board of Donald J. Trump For President Inc., issued the following statement on behalf of the Campaign:

“Today we honor the memories of the nearly 3,000 Americans who perished on September 11, 2001 at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists. Those Americans will be forever remembered. Nor shall we forget the extraordinary heroism of our first responders and the ordinary Americans who gave everything to save others on that terrible day. We are also eternally grateful to the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom and flag since then.”

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1 a.m.

Americans are set to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks with tributes altered by the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both plan to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania Friday, though not at the same time.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus precautions is leading to separate remembrances.

The National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum cancelled its tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead aloud. It will offer a recording instead to those gathered at the World Trade Center site.

Some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11 group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up a simultaneous ceremony.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend both events. Biden will also attend the main New York observance before heading to Pennsylvania.