NEW YORK (CNN) — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observed a moment of silence at the exact time the first plane hit the World Trade Center 11 years ago Tuesday, part of the annual commemoration of terrorist attacks that forever changed the United States and the world.
“It’s a day that will never go away,” Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told CNN of the anniversary remembered with words and tears.
The ceremonies have become eerily familiar by now.
At the ground zero site in lower Manhattan, family members and others read the names of the 2,753 people killed there. No politicians were included in the New York ceremony, near a new high-rise tower built where two hijacked planes destroyed the World Trade Center towers.
Obama was to attend a memorial at the Pentagon, also hit by a hijacked airliner on September 11, 2001, and later visit wounded troops at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, while Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to attend a commemoration near the crash site of another hijacked plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
At the Capitol, legislators of both parties will display rare bipartisanship with a united commemoration.
Neither Obama nor Biden planned any campaign events for the day, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney was scheduled to speak at a National Guard event in Nevada.
On the South Lawn of the White House, the Obamas stood in silence with heads bowed and hands clasped on a sun-filled morning reminiscent of the clear skies 11 years earlier. White House staff stood in quiet observance on the grass behind them as a lone bugler played “Taps.”
In a post on Twitter, Romney got in an apparent political jab by making sure the words “under God” were included.
At its national convention last week, the Democratic Party initially omitted the word “God” from its platform.
“On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest for peace and freedom at home and across the world,” the Romney tweet said.
It followed a statement by Romney that his campaign released overnight that initially made no mention of God, then later added a similar “under God” reference.
“On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world,” the amended statement said.