Silence, flowers, United States flags, prayers and selfies filled the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York on Saturday, a place that two decades ago became ground zero for the terrorist attacks of September 11. Linda Aristondo remembers perfectly how that tragic day was, since she was able to escape from the 88th floor of One World Trade North, a tower that collapsed in the attack. “Today is not about me. It is about everyone remembering what happened 20 years ago,” emphasizes the survivor.
This 9/11 Aristondo delivers white bands on which can be read the words: “Remembrance and healing”, an initiative of the Church of St. Paul. “This chapel survived the attack. Many firefighters, health workers and policemen came to the church to rest when they were exhausted from working among the rubble and they were given food, water and could take a nap on the benches,” says the New Yorker.
David Brandhorst lost his brother, sister-in-law and nephew on United Airlines Flight 175 – a plane that took off in Boston, was hijacked by five members of Al Qaida and then crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Coming here is important to him, although he doesn’t do it every year since he lives in Syracuse, a city in New York state that is about 4 hours from the Big Apple. What she likes most about commemorating the lives of her family members at the WTC is the feeling of togetherness she feels when she is with other people who also lost their loved ones that day.
This August, hundreds of survivors and relatives of the victims of the attacks asked President Joe Biden to declassify hitherto confidential information about the attacks, as they suspect possible involvement of Saudi Arabian officials. And, in addition, they indicated to the president that if he did not fulfill this electoral promise, he was not welcome to the 20th anniversary. “It’s been a long time. The FBI has to release some of the documents. They have to help the families reinstate restitution,” Brandhorst notes.
A few days ago Biden signed an executive order promoting the declassification of confidential documents. Measure that forces the Department of Justice and intelligence agencies to review all documents before and after the attack and begin their progressive declassification. However, this process could take up to six months.
Finally, Biden did go to the annual 9/11 commemoration ceremony in New York City accompanied by his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, as well as former President Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama. and his wife Michelle Obama.
This is the first time since 9/11 that the United States has celebrated the anniversary of the bombing without being at war in Afghanistan. For Thomas Bark, the fact that his country is no longer in this territory could help to produce another terrorist attack at the hands of the Islamic State, which is why for the first time in his life he has moved to Lower Manhattan during the anniversary to share your opinion through a poster that reads: “Biden + Taliban = 9/11 forgot” (Biden + Taliban = forgotten 9/11).
Despite the fact that the National Monument to 9/11 – made up of two holes lined with waterfalls – was only open to the relatives of the victims, survivors, officials and public figures, there are hundreds of curious people – some with flowers and flags in the hands – who have approached WTC to pay tribute. Mirna Flores, a Guatemalan woman living in the state of Maryland for 5 years, came at the request of her 13-year-old son, Jorge Flores, who recently learned at school what happened in this place 20 years ago.
“In class they showed us the images of how it happened and I was very surprised,” says the teenager. For her part, her mother says that in the air you can breathe a “sad” atmosphere, but at the same time “beautiful”, since it is a way of commemorating the almost three thousand people who died.