NEW YORK (Reuters)–The United States–its forces on high alert at home and abroad–on Wednesday solemnly and tearfully remembered the traumatic day one year ago when 19 young Arabs launched a carefully planned assault on America that killed 3,025 people.
On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks–virtually every town and city across the nation–every school and college–churches–synagogues and mosques as well as many factories and offices held ceremonies and observed a moment of silence for victims–young and old–from dozens of nations.
US military forces in the Middle East went on top alert in response to warnings of possible terror attacks–some provided by a captured top official of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization that is believed to have masterminded last year’s attacks. In videos shot late last year–the Saudi-born bin Laden claimed advance knowledge of the attacks and praised their outcome.
President George W. Bush–speaking outside the newly rebuilt Pentagon facade–said the victims of Sept. 11 did not die in vain and would be avenged. "The enemies who struck us are determined and they are resourceful. They will not be stopped by a sense of decency or a hint of conscience. But they will be stopped," he declared.
Four aircraft hijacked by extremists motivated by an extreme offshoot of Islam and hatred of America destroyed the World Trade Center–smashed a crater in the Pentagon and inspired an act of self-sacrifice in the skies over Pennsylvania when passengers fought back knowing they faced certain death.
In addition to the 3,025 victims–all 19 hijackers were also killed.