Newsday - August 11, 2017by Laura Figueroa
As the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 approaches, plans for the annual memorial service at Ground Zero continue to be finalized with many of the rituals of years past being preserved.
Bells will toll. The names of nearly 3,000 lost lives will be read aloud by surviving family and friends. A tattered American flag will be displayed — one of the symbols of hope that emerged from the ash, smoke and rubble of the fallen Twin Towers.
Michael Frazier, spokesman for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said planning for the memorial had been underway since “early in the year with coordination meetings that bring together multiple agencies,” including the Port Authority, NYPD, and FDNY.
Last year, about 8,000 guests — namely relatives of those lost in the attacks — attended the event, which is set to start shortly before 8:46 a.m., the moment that American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower on Sept. 11, 2001. The plane was one of four commercial jets hijacked by terrorists that day. United Airlines Flight 175 struck the south tower. American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Frazier said organizers had not yet heard back from the White House whether President Donald Trump would attend the commemoration ceremony.
During last year’s presidential race, Republican Trump attended the event along with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have attended previous memorial services at Ground Zero, but they have also presided over the Pentagon’s 9/11 ceremony that honors the 125 military personnel who died in the attack and the 59 passengers and crew members who perished aboard the hijacked plane.
Nearly 500 Long Islanders were among the almost 3,000 people killed in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.