September 11 - America pays tribute to the 3,000 dead
Steph Deschamps / September 11, 2021
America commemorates Saturday the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with solemn memorial ceremonies to honor the nearly 3,000 dead from the al-Qaeda attacks, in an atmosphere weighed down by the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In two decades, the time of a generation, the deadliest jihadist attacks in history are now embedded in the political history and collective memory of the United States, but the pain of the victims' families and survivors remains extremely acute.
President Joe Biden, weakened by the debacle in Afghanistan, will preside in silence over the tribute to the 2,977 dead (including 2,753 in New York) from the impressive Manhattan memorial built at the foot of new skyscrapers, on Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) once stood.
At 08:46 on Saturday, the time when the first plane hijacked by five of the 19 jihadists hit the WTC's north tower, a minute's silence will be observed at the memorial.
Five more minutes of silence and musical tributes will follow until 12:30 to mark the tragedies of that fateful morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001: for the collapse of the towers in New York, the attack against the Pentagon near Washington and the crash of one of the planes in Shanksville (Pennsylvania).
Like every September 11, the names of nearly 3,000 dead will be read out at the New York memorial for three hours. Huge vertical beams of light are already rising from the two huge black pools that have replaced the base of the towers.
In Times Square, in the heart of Manhattan, the economic hub of the world's leading power, where America's victories are traditionally celebrated, a rally and moments of meditation are also planned.
Every American, whether a victim or a witness to 9/11, is also preparing to pay tribute to a loved one who died. Frank Siller has gone further. The brother of a Brooklyn firefighter who died at the World Trade Center walked 537 miles from the Pentagon to Shanksville to Ground Zero" and is raising money to support the families of victims.
America has never forgotten Pearl Harbor, it will never forget 9/11, Siller told AFP.
In fact, according to researchers, the September 11 disaster has shaken up American society and politics and has become, in one generation, a chapter of history inscribed in the country's memory. Like Pearl Harbor, D-Day or the Kennedy
This particular commemoration of 9/11, Joe Biden, 78, has undoubtedly prepared many times since his victory in November against Donald Trump, whom he accused of having weakened and fractured America.
In a video message broadcast on Friday evening, the Democratic president rightly called for unity, our greatest strength. But after eight months in office, he is heavily criticized for the debacle of ending the military intervention in Afghanistan, as Washington was caught off guard by the Taliban's lightning advance.
In 20 years, the United States has lost 2,500 soldiers and spent more than 2,000 billion dollars in Afghanistan. At the end of August, they abandoned the country to the Islamist fundamentalists that they had driven out of Kabul at the end of 2001, accusing them of harbouring the Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who was finally killed in 2011 in Pakistan.