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Remembering 9/11: Ceremonies Scaled Back Due to Pandemic

What you can do to commemorate the 19th anniversary

A white rose stands at the nine eleven memorial

iStock / Getty Images

Americans across the nation will commemorate the 9/11 terror attacks on Friday morning, although the public ceremonies will be scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In New York City, where two commercial jets were flown into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, ceremonies will be held at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza and a corner near the World Trade Center. Unlike previous years, relatives will forgo the in-person reading of the names of family members killed in the terrorist attack. Recorded readings of the names made by 9/11 family members will be used instead. Vice President Mike Pence is expected at both of those remembrances in New York.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden plan to attend a truncated ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania that is closed to the public. The Pentagon will also hold a ceremony in honor of the 184 people killed when American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon, killing all 64 people on the plane and 125 people in the Pentagon. The event is also closed to the public.


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Americans are being encouraged to participate in remembering 9/11

Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization best known for placing veterans’ wreaths on the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, is asking every American to stand outside and wave a flag on Friday morning for one minute to commemorate the lives lost during the terrorist attack:

  • 8:46 a.m. ET – When American Airlines Flight 11 was flown into the northern facade of the World Trade Center's North Tower
  • 9:03 a.m. ET – When United Airlines Flight 175 struck the southern facade of the South Tower
  • 9:37 a.m. ET – When American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the western side of the Pentagon
  • 10:03 a.m. ET – When United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Official ceremonies will be livestreamed

The 19th Anniversary Observance at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania will begin at 9:45 a.m. ET. It will be closed for the event. It will reopen afterward, when visitors are welcome to pay their respects to the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 at the memorial, according to the National Park Service, which is also livestreaming the event.

In New York City, the 9/11 Memorial Museum will begin livestreaming the commemorative ceremony at 8:40 a.m. ET. The museum, which has been closed due to the pandemic, will reopen exclusively for 9/11 family members on Friday. It will reopen to the public, five days a week, starting on September 12. Tickets must be purchased in advance for timed visits that allow for social distancing. Visitors must wear CDC-approved face masks and follow all health and safety guidelines. They will also undergo a temperature screening before being allowed entry, according to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

The Pentagon observance ceremony, being conducted by Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, is not open to the public but will be livestreamed. Just prior to the start of the main ceremony, an American flag will be unfurled down the side of the Pentagon at sunrise (6:47 a.m. ET).

The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial remains closed to the public. Families will not be present at the observance ceremony; they will be visiting the memorial in small groups throughout the day, according to the Pentagon.