Cities, schools honor 9/11 victims

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ATLANTA - Local public safety departments and schools held services Wednesday morning to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Atlanta police and fire departments held a ceremony at the Public Safety Headquarters Wednesday morning. Police Chief George Turner and Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran spoke at the event.

In East Point, the police and fire departments also hosted a combined Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony at the Law Enforcement Center in downtown East Point.

They held a moment of silence at 9:59 a.m., marking the moment when the South Tower fell.

Mayor Ernestine Pittman, Fire Chief Rosemary Cloud and Police Chief Woodrow Blue shared their memories of the attacks, which left 343 firefighters, 60 police officers dead.

At Georgia Tech, students held a campus-wide remembrance event to recognize victims and survivors, including an American Flag Memorial on Skiles Lawn. The flags will be on display through Thursday.

In Fulton County, Milton High School and Cambridge Middle School each placed one flag for each of the 2,997 people killed on Sept. 11 2001. Community members are invited to visit the public displays to pay tribute.

Wednesday night, the city of Suwanee will dedicate an artistic memorial. It features a 1,628-pound piece of an exterior steel panel from floors 101-104 of one of the twin towers. The display also includes a timeline of the events on Sept. 11 2001.

The ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Town Center Park and will include a performance by the North Gwinnett High School Advanced Chamber Orchestra. It will be free to the public.

New York City, D.C. pay tribute on 9/11

Families of the victims of the worst terror attack on the United States in history gathered Wednesday to mark their 12th anniversary with a moment of silence and the reading of names.

The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington killed almost 3,000 people, led to a long war in Afghanistan and created an expansion of government surveillance powers that continues to be debated today.

At a ceremony near Wall Street in New York, people paused at 8:46 a.m. to mark the time when the first of two hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center. The twin towers later collapsed.

President Barack Obama also marked a moment of silence at the White House and was attending a ceremony in Washington at the Pentagon, which was struck by another hijacked plane.

The attacks on a clear, beautiful morning as commuters arrived at work shook the country's sense of security and of itself.

"No matter how many years pass, this time comes around each year — and it's always the same," said Karen Hinson, who lost her 34-year-old brother, Michael Wittenstein, in New York. His body was never found.

Obama on Wednesday made no direct mention of the crisis in Syria, but he vowed to "defend our nation" against the threats that endure.

"Let us have the wisdom to know that while force is sometimes necessary, force alone cannot build the world we seek," Obama said during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

The president also paid tribute to the four Americans killed one year ago in an attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, asking the country to pray for those who "serve in dangerous posts" even after more than a decade of war.

In New York, continuing a decision made last year, no politicians were making speeches.

Around the world, thousands of volunteers have pledged to do good deeds, honoring an anniversary that was designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009.


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