MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Twenty-one years after the horrific attack on the World Trade Center, New York held true to its promise to never forget.
Family members of victims gathered at the annual remembrance ceremony held in Lower Manhattan. The unimaginable act of terror 21 years ago claimed thousands of lives and scarred many others forever.
“My brother, Richard Avery Aronow, 21 years, it’s like yesterday. We miss you. We love you. We will never, ever forget,” said one relative.
Vice President Kamala Harris joined current and former New Yorker leaders to witness the annual ceremony, which included the traditional moments of silence, reading of the names, and anecdotes shared by loved ones.
“The reality is that I, along with countless other children who lost parents, missed out on countless memories, moments, conversations. So, while the grief recedes a bit with time. The permanent absence of my father is just as palpable today as it ever was,” said a grieving son who was 13 at the time of the attacks.
The NYPD kept several streets closed to ensure safety. Loved ones comforted each other and strangers grieved together during the ceremony; it’s a familiar sight for those who attend the remembrance year after year.
Thomas Von Essen, who was the FDNY commissioner at the time of the attacks, said it doesn’t get any easier. He told PIX11 he hopes the sacrifice made by first responders on 9/11 will serve as a special call to action for all Americans.
“When you give it all to strangers, I think that’s something not everybody is able to do. If anything, good came out of September 11 I think it was the respect and admiration of firefighters all around the world,” said Von Essen.
And in a pre-recorded message, Mayor Eric Adams, a former New York City officer, reflected on that tragic day. He urged New Yorkers to use it as a symbol of the city’s strength.
“The most remarkable day for me was September 12. On September 12 we got up. It was a symbol of the invisibility and resiliency of New York City and the country,” said Adams.