‘Don’t focus on hate’: World marks 20th anniversary of 9/11

Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_61083 A memorial flag is brought onto the stage during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_Pentagon_19888 An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_95523 A National Park Service ranger stands in front of the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. before a Service of Remembrance Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, as the nation marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Sept_11_Pentagon_36748 An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_86074 People react as they attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_73807 A person reacts as they attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_19820 People react as they attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_05963 A couple gathers with others outside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum as they view on their smartphone a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_Anniversary_09994 Visitors browse the south pool as flowers and American flags rest among the names of the fallen at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_Anniversary_48661 A visitor touches an American flag with an image of of Jill Maurer-Campbell, who died on Sept. 11, as it stands beside her name on the south pool at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_Anniversary_77615 Retired Santa Clara firefighter Darrell Sales, right, and fellow cyclist Jeremy Provancher, left, stand beside the south pool holding an American flag after completing their "Bay to Brooklyn" bicycle ride at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York. A team of current and former firefighters spent 40 days traveling by bicycle to New York City in solidarity for the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Sept_11_Anniversary_53436 Military personnel on shore leave browse the north pool at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_Anniversary_42047 A visitor takes a photograph of flowers and American flags resting among the names of those who died at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_Anniversary_66766 Kathy Birch, sister of Charles Gregory "Chuck" Costello Jr., an elevator electrician who ran into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center before the towers fell, stands beside her brothers name while visitors browse the north pool at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in the Manhattan borough of New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_85854 A firefighter places his hand on the name engravings on the south pool during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_18963 Former President Donald Trump, second from right, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by visiting the NYPD's 17th police precinct in New York, where he criticized President Biden over the pullout from Afghanistan, Saturday Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_23333 Mourners gather at the north pool adorned with flowers during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_34367 Former President Donald Trump visits the Engine Co. 8 firehouse where he praised first responders' bravery while criticizing President Joe Biden over the pullout from Afghanistan, Saturday Sept. 11, 2021, in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_99236 Flag bearers rehearse before ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_25755 People tie ribbons to the fence at St. Paul's Chapel near the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_90234 A couple gathers with others outside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum as they view on their smartphone a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_14215 Firefighters from Massachusetts gather with others outside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_68147 A person wipes her eye as she gathers with others outside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_17681 A mourner brings roses to the north pool after the conclusion of ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_47177 A mourner stands at the south pool before ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_38081 From left, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_56992 Hands touch the names of people who were killed during the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, as families gather at the National September 11 Memorial in New York on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_Biden_12214 President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden lay a wreath at the Wall of Names during a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The Bidens visited to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. National Park Service park ranger Robert Franz stands at right.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_07369 A woman places flowers as she visits the National September 11 Memorial in New York on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_80449 A man with his daughter on his shoulders, looks on at the north reflecting pool of the National September 11 Memorial in New York on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_Biden_25541 President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden participate in a wreath ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, standing at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial site, which commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77. With the President, not shown, are Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and his wife Hollyanne Milley.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_24267 President Joe Biden, center, visits with family and friends of the 40 passengers and crew who perished on Flight 93 at the 17-ton boulder that marks the impact site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Sept. 11, 2021.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_02765 Vice President Kamala Harris, center, gestures as she visits with Ed Root, second from left, who is the cousin of Flight 93 passenger Lorraine G. Bay, and his daughter Emily, as they stand in front of Lorraine G Bay's stone on the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Sept. 11, 2021 in Shanksville, Pa.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_61083 A memorial flag is brought onto the stage during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_Pentagon_19888 An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77.
APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_95523 A National Park Service ranger stands in front of the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. before a Service of Remembrance Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, as the nation marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Sept_11_Pentagon_36748 An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77.
CORRECTION_APTOPIX_Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_97511 CORRECTS TITLE TO SENATE MAJORITY LEADER - From left, former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg's partner Diana Taylor, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., stand for the national anthem during the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 in New York.
Sept_11_20th_Anniversary_11283 Flowers are seen at the National September 11 Memorial in New York on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. .
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More than 200 Arlington first responders paid tribute to fallen first responders by laying roses on charred piece of steel from ground zero in NY. Many of them were at the Pentagon that day.

Up to 700 volunteers worked in shifts assembling 200,000 meals destined for area foodbanks.

Fmr. Battalion Chief Dale Smith placing rose on charred steel from ground zero. WTOP/Gigi Barnett

Up to 700 volunteers worked in shifts assembling 200,000 meals destined for area foodbanks.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Air Force One at Pennsylvania Army Air National Guard Base in Johnstown, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The Bidens are en route to Washington after visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A sky diver lands on the field with an oversized United States flag prior to the start of an NCAA college football game between Northwestern and Indiana State in Evanston, Ill, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Former President Donald Trump visits the Engine Co. 8 firehouse where he praised first responders’ bravery while criticizing President Joe Biden over the pullout from Afghanistan, Saturday Sept. 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jill Colvin)

A red, white and blue ribbon, to mark Sept. 11, 2001 anniversary, marks the field near the Texas A&M bench before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

President Joe Biden speaks to people as he visits the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department in Shanksville, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Biden stopped by after visiting the nearby Flight 93 National Memorial to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mourners stand at the rim of the north pool with the white World Trade Center Oculus in the background after the conclusion of ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia joined first responders and officers in commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia joined first responders and officers in commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

A trumpeter plays “Taps” beside the north pool at the conclusion of ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

People tie ribbons to the fence at St. Paul’s Chapel near the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, hand over heart, at a ceremony remembering the 3,000 lost and the first responders who entered the Pentagon 20 years ago.

Former President George W. Bush, right, wipes his eyes next to former first lady Laura Bush, after he spoke at a memorial for the passengers and crew of United Flight 93, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Shanksville, Pa., on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees and guests take part in a moment of silence during an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Springfield, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden lay a wreath at the Wall of Names during a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The Bidens visited to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A shadow of a rose is projected onto a flag held by Germano Rivera by the north pool during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

On the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, an Alexandria fire station hosts Sen. Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe for a ceremony remembering that tragic day.

On the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, an Alexandria fire station hosts Sen. Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe for a ceremony remembering that tragic day.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff attend a memorial for the passengers and crew of United Flight 93, Saturday Sept. 11, 2021, in Shanksville, Pa., on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland and Gordon Felt, brother of Edward Porter Felt and President of Familes for Flight 93, are right.

April Horton, left, Blake Edward Schaffer, 10, and Andrea Stauter, right, sisters and nephew of Petty Officer First Class Edward Earhart, who was killed in the Pentagon on 9/11, pose for a family photo following an observance ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Nephew Blake Edward Schaffer was named honoring Earhart.

A screen displays a video of former President George W. Bush during an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Springfield, Va.

Bagpipers stand at attention during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.

A member of FDNY rings a bell during the singing of the National Anthem at the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony, six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin speaks during a remembrance ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC on September 11, 2021. – America marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday with solemn ceremonies given added poignancy by the recent chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and return to power of the Taliban. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen performs during the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(L-R) Former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, President Joe Bien, First Lady Jill Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg’s partner Diana Taylor, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) stand for the national anthem during the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (C) attends the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Delegates from the United States Embassy including Acting Ambassador, Philip T Reeker (L), Charge d’Affaires, attend the changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, on September 11, 2021. – In a royal tribute to the dead, who included 67 Britons, the US anthem was played on Saturday by fur-hatted Welsh Guards at the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A beam of light is visible over the Lincoln Memorial, the day before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as part of the Towers of Light Tribute, Friday Sept. 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Pentagon
An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

An American flag hangs from the side of the Pentagon to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, on September 11, 2021, in Washington,DC. – America marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday with solemn ceremonies given added poignancy by the recent chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and return to power of the Taliban. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A rose is seen at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial that commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77 at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Pentagon

NEW YORK (AP) — The world solemnly marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 on Saturday, grieving lost lives and shattered American unity in commemorations that unfolded just weeks after the bloody end of the Afghanistan war that was launched in response to the terror attacks.

Victims’ relatives and four U.S. presidents paid respects at the sites where hijacked planes killed nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil.

Others gathered for observances from Portland, Maine, to Guam, or for volunteer projects on what has become a day of service in the U.S. Foreign leaders expressed sympathy over an attack that happened in the U.S. but claimed victims from more than 90 countries.

“It felt like an evil specter had descended on our world, but it was also a time when many people acted above and beyond the ordinary,” said Mike Low, whose daughter, Sara Low, was a flight attendant on the first plane that crashed.

“As we carry these 20 years forward, I find sustenance in a continuing appreciation for all of those who rose to be more than ordinary people,” the father told a ground zero crowd that included President Joe Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

In a video released Friday night, Biden said Sept. 11 illustrated that “unity is our greatest strength.”

Unity is “the thing that’s going to affect our well-being more than anything else,” he added while visiting a volunteer firehouse Saturday after laying a wreath at the 9/11 crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He later took a moment of silence at the third site, the Pentagon.

The anniversary was observed under the pall of a pandemic and in the shadow of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is now ruled by the same Taliban militant group that gave safe haven to the 9/11 plotters.

“It’s hard because you hoped that this would just be a different time and a different world. But sometimes history starts to repeat itself and not in the best of ways,” Thea Trinidad, who lost her father in the attacks, said before reading victims’ names at the ceremony.

Bruce Springsteen and Broadway actors Kelli O’Hara and Chris Jackson sang at the commemoration, but by tradition, no politicians spoke there.

At the Pennsylvania site — where passengers and crew fought to regain control of a plane believed to have been targeted at the U.S. Capitol or the White House — former President George W. Bush said Sept. 11 showed that Americans can come together despite their differences.

“So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear and resentment,” said the president who was in office on 9/11. “On America’s day of trial and grief, I saw millions of people instinctively grab their neighbor’s hand and rally to the cause of one another. That is the America I know.”

“It is the truest version of ourselves. It is what we have been and what we can be again.”

Calvin Wilson said a polarized country has “missed the message” of the heroism of the flight’s passengers and crew, which included his brother-in-law, LeRoy Homer.

“We don’t focus on the damage. We don’t focus on the hate. We don’t focus on retaliation. We don’t focus on revenge,” Wilson said before the ceremony. “We focus on the good that all of our loved ones have done.”

Former President Donald Trump visited a New York police station and a firehouse, praising responders’ bravery while criticizing Biden over the pullout from Afghanistan.

“It was gross incompetence,” said Trump, who was scheduled to provide commentary at a boxing match in Florida in the evening.

The attacks ushered in a new era of fear, war, patriotism and, eventually, polarization. They also redefined security, changing airport checkpoints, police practices and the government’s surveillance powers.

A “war on terror” led to invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the longest U.S. war ended last month with a hasty, massive airlift punctuated by a suicide bombing that killed 169 Afghans and 13 American service members and was attributed to a branch of the Islamic State extremist group. The body of slain Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo was brought Saturday to her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts, where people lined the streets as the flag-draped draped casket passed by.

The U.S. is now concerned that al-Qaida, the terror network behind 9/11, may regroup in Afghanistan, where the Taliban flag once again flew over the presidential palace on Saturday.

Two decades after helping to triage and treat injured colleagues at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, retired Army Col. Malcolm Bruce Westcott is saddened and frustrated by the continued threat of terrorism.

“I always felt that my generation, my military cohort, would take care of it — we wouldn’t pass it on to anybody else,” said Westcott, of Greensboro, Georgia. “And we passed it on.”

At ground zero, multiple victims’ relatives thanked the troops who fought in Afghanistan, while Melissa Pullis said she was just happy they were finally home.

“We can’t lose any more military. We don’t even know why we’re fighting, and 20 years went down the drain,” said Pullis, who lost her husband, Edward, and whose son Edward Jr. is serving on the USS Ronald Reagan.

The families spoke of lives cut short, milestones missed and a loss that still feels immediate. Several pleaded for a return of the solidarity that surged for a time after Sept. 11 but soon gave way.

“In our grief and our strength, we were not divided based on our voting preference, the color of our skin or our moral or religious beliefs,” said Sally Maler, the sister-in-law of victim Alfred Russell Maler.

Yet in the years that followed, Muslim Americans endured suspicion, surveillance and hate crimes. Schisms and bitterness grew over the balance between tolerance and vigilance, the meaning of patriotism, the proper way to honor the dead and the scope of a promise to “never forget.”

Trinidad was 10 when she overheard her dad, Michael, saying goodbye to her mother by phone from the burning trade center. She remembers the pain but also the fellowship of the days that followed, when all of New York “felt like it was family.”

“Now, when I feel like the world is so divided, I just wish that we can go back to that,” said Trinidad, of Orlando, Florida. “I feel like it would have been such a different world if we had just been able to hang on to that feeling.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island; Jill Colvin in New York; and Alexandra Jaffe in Shanksville and Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More than 200 Arlington first responders paid tribute to fallen first responders by laying roses on charred piece of steel from ground zero in NY. Many of them were at the Pentagon that day.

Up to 700 volunteers worked in shifts assembling 200,000 meals destined for area foodbanks.

Fmr. Battalion Chief Dale Smith placing rose on charred steel from ground zero. WTOP/Gigi Barnett

Up to 700 volunteers worked in shifts assembling 200,000 meals destined for area foodbanks.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Air Force One at Pennsylvania Army Air National Guard Base in Johnstown, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The Bidens are en route to Washington after visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A sky diver lands on the field with an oversized United States flag prior to the start of an NCAA college football game between Northwestern and Indiana State in Evanston, Ill, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Former President Donald Trump visits the Engine Co. 8 firehouse where he praised first responders’ bravery while criticizing President Joe Biden over the pullout from Afghanistan, Saturday Sept. 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jill Colvin)

A red, white and blue ribbon, to mark Sept. 11, 2001 anniversary, marks the field near the Texas A&M bench before an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

President Joe Biden speaks to people as he visits the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department in Shanksville, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Biden stopped by after visiting the nearby Flight 93 National Memorial to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mourners stand at the rim of the north pool with the white World Trade Center Oculus in the background after the conclusion of ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia joined first responders and officers in commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia joined first responders and officers in commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

A trumpeter plays “Taps” beside the north pool at the conclusion of ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

People tie ribbons to the fence at St. Paul’s Chapel near the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, hand over heart, at a ceremony remembering the 3,000 lost and the first responders who entered the Pentagon 20 years ago.

Former President George W. Bush, right, wipes his eyes next to former first lady Laura Bush, after he spoke at a memorial for the passengers and crew of United Flight 93, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Shanksville, Pa., on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees and guests take part in a moment of silence during an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Springfield, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden lay a wreath at the Wall of Names during a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The Bidens visited to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A shadow of a rose is projected onto a flag held by Germano Rivera by the north pool during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

On the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, an Alexandria fire station hosts Sen. Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe for a ceremony remembering that tragic day.

On the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, an Alexandria fire station hosts Sen. Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe for a ceremony remembering that tragic day.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff attend a memorial for the passengers and crew of United Flight 93, Saturday Sept. 11, 2021, in Shanksville, Pa., on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland and Gordon Felt, brother of Edward Porter Felt and President of Familes for Flight 93, are right.

April Horton, left, Blake Edward Schaffer, 10, and Andrea Stauter, right, sisters and nephew of Petty Officer First Class Edward Earhart, who was killed in the Pentagon on 9/11, pose for a family photo following an observance ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Nephew Blake Edward Schaffer was named honoring Earhart.

A screen displays a video of former President George W. Bush during an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Springfield, Va.

Bagpipers stand at attention during ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.

A member of FDNY rings a bell during the singing of the National Anthem at the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony, six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin speaks during a remembrance ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC on September 11, 2021. – America marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday with solemn ceremonies given added poignancy by the recent chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and return to power of the Taliban. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen performs during the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(L-R) Former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, President Joe Bien, First Lady Jill Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg’s partner Diana Taylor, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) stand for the national anthem during the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (C) attends the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2021 in New York City. During the ceremony six moments of silence were held, marking when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. The nation is marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, when the terrorist group al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Delegates from the United States Embassy including Acting Ambassador, Philip T Reeker (L), Charge d’Affaires, attend the changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, on September 11, 2021. – In a royal tribute to the dead, who included 67 Britons, the US anthem was played on Saturday by fur-hatted Welsh Guards at the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A beam of light is visible over the Lincoln Memorial, the day before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as part of the Towers of Light Tribute, Friday Sept. 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Pentagon
An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

An American flag hangs from the side of the Pentagon to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, on September 11, 2021, in Washington,DC. – America marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday with solemn ceremonies given added poignancy by the recent chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and return to power of the Taliban. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

An American flag is unfurled at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. In the foreground, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, opened in 2008 adjacent to the site, commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A rose is seen at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial that commemorates the lives lost at the Pentagon and onboard American Airlines Flight 77 at the Pentagon in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at sunrise on the morning of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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