(USA Today) A nation that just stepped back from the brink of conflict with Syria paused Wednesday to honor and reflect on the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11, the day terrorist attacks spurred two other long-running conflicts in the Middle East.
In New York, hundreds of friends and families of the victims stood silently — many holding photos of their loved ones — as bagpipes played. Relatives recited the names of those killed when two hijacked commercial airliners slammed into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. Another plane that day crashed into the Pentagon near Washington, and a fourth plunged into a field near Shanksville, Pa.
President Obama marked the anniversary with a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House, along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and wife Jill Biden. They walked out of the White House at 8:46 a.m. ET, the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower. Bowing their heads in a moment of silence, they were followed by a bugler playing taps.
Obama attended a Pentagon ceremony later Wednesday morning, quoting the Bible, noting the resilience of victims' families and saluting those who served in the military and launched public service projects on behalf of 9/11 victims. A huge American flag draped the building near the spot where a hijacked jet struck at 9:37 a.m., killing 184 people.