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Remembering 9/11;

Aired September 12, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to this special edition of CNN Student News. From CNN Center in Atlanta, I`m Carl Azuz.

Today`s show is dedicated to remembering the events of September 11th, 2001, and honoring those lost. Yesterday marked 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, when terrorists targeting the United States killed nearly 3,000 people.

In Friday`s show, we walked you through the events of that day, and you can find the video for that at Today, we look at how the nation spent the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Commemorations were held at the sites of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Ceremonies took place under extremely heavy security because of a credible but still unconfirmed threat of a possible new terror strike.

Let`s begin now in New York, where the World Trade Center`s North and South Towers collapsed in 2001. It happened after they were hit by two hijacked planes. It was where the biggest loss of life took place that day.


AZUZ (voice-over): On Sunday, thousands gathered where the towers once stood, an area now known as Ground Zero. Those present paused for a moment of silence at 8:46 am, the exact time the first plane hit. It was the first of six moment of silence marking key moments of 9/11.

President Obama and former president George W. Bush, whom you saw right there, attended the ceremony, and they read passage from the Bible. Family member of those who died on 9/11 read aloud the names of each victim, and shared stores about their loved ones.

PETER NEGRON, SON OF 9/11 VICTIM: My father worked on the 88th floor of the World Trade Center. I was 13 when I stood here in 2003 and read a poem about how much I wanted to break down and cry.

Since then, I`ve stopped crying, but I haven`t stopped missing my dad. He was awesome. My brother, Austin (ph), had just turned two when he passed. I`ve tried to teach him all the things my father taught me, how to catch a baseball, how to ride a bike and to work hard in school. My dad always said how important it was.


AZUZ: Observances were also held around the world to remember those lost, including hundreds from other countries. And in New York, a memorial opened as a permanent tribute to the events of 9/11.

The memorial took several years to plan, and it had many revisions along the way. And nearby a tower even taller than the fallen towers is under construction.

To help us all remember, Anderson Cooper looks back at the World Trade Center`s history, its significance and the new tower that`s rising.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: (voice-over): New Yorkers have been talking about building a world trade center for 20 years before ground was broken on Manhattan`s Lower West Side on August 5th, 1966. Older buildings had to be demolished.

The North Tower started going up in 1968, the South Tower five months later. The first tenants moved in in 1970, even before construction finished on the upper floors. Ribbon cutting was in 1973.

The towers were full of innovations. At 110 stories, they were the tallest buildings in the world, at least for a little while. Each floor was about an acre of open space, their weight distributed between a central core and steel columns in the building`s outer skin.

High-speed express elevators and sky lobbies on the 44th and 78th floors made getting to the top quick and efficient. The complex even had its own zip code, 10048. Iconic additions to Manhattan`s skyline, the World Trade Center never stopped attracting attention. But as the years went by, the towers, symbols of a city, a country and a way of life, also became a focal point for hatred.

In February 1993, a van packed with explosive was detonated in a package garage under the North Tower. Six people died, and about a thousand were hurt. Islamic extremists behind the attack were rounded up, tried as criminals, convicted and sent to prison. But the international terrorists who inspired them kept plotting, and struck on that crystal clear morning in 2001.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.


COOPER (voice-over): It took eight months for bodies to be recovered and for a million tons of twisted steel and concrete to be cleared away.

Plans for a new and even taller skyscraper were revealed quickly, and changed repeatedly to make it stronger and safer. The new One World Trade Center will have a reinforced center core, extra fireproofing, biochemical filters and even green technology.

Groundbreaking for the main tower, One World Trade Center, took place in 2006.


GEORGE PATAKI: We are going to soar to new heights and reclaim New York`s skyline with this magnificent symbol of our freedom.


COOPER (voice-over): Today, the still unfinished tower just pokes above the skyline on its way to becoming the country`s tallest skyscraper, 1,776 feet at the tip of its antenna, matching the year of U.S. independence, 1776.

AZUZ: In Washington, D.C., mourners gathered at the Pentagon, which also came under attack on 9/11.


AZUZ (voice-over): Here, there was a moment of silence at 9:37 am, when in 2001, a plane struck the Pentagon, killing 184 people.

Vice President Joe Biden addressed those gathered, and spoke of America`s resolve in the midst of a historic challenge.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Al Qaida and Bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans.

They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken. They never imagined these things, because they did not understand what enables us, what has always enabled us to withstand any test that comes our way. But you understood.


AZUZ: A third ceremony was held in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That`s where another plane went down after passengers realized the hijackers` plans and tried to stop them from hitting a fourth target, thought to be the Capitol building in Washington.


AZUZ (voice-over): Sunday, President Obama and the first lady laid a wreath in honor of the 40 passengers and crew members who lost their lives in that crash. It came a day after a new memorial was unveiled at the site.

David Mattingly has more on how the men and women aboard that flight will be remembered.



DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN REPORTER: Ten years ago, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was the site of a violent act of terrorism. There was a great deal of uncertainty, fear and anger surrounding this site.

Well, today, we find it completely transformed, this pastoral setting now very peaceful with grasses and wildflowers growing everywhere, the dedication of this memorial today was for the bravery and courage of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, and it was an emotional time, not just for the family members of the people on board that plane, but also for former president George W. Bush.

GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With their selfless act, the men and women who stormed the cockpit lived out the words, "Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends."

And with their brave decision, they launched the first counter offensive of the war on terror.


AZUZ: Jessica is a student who also talked about the crash in Pennsylvania. On our blog, she wrote that we shouldn`t just remember the people who died in the twin towers ".and those who died trying to save lives, but also the innocent people who died on the planes. Especially the brave people on the fourth plane.." United Flight 93.

Sydney says, ". it is important to remember 9/11 so that we can pray for all of the victims as well as their families that were involved in that horrible day."

Joseph wrote that even though 9/11 was an awful tragedy, ".it brought this country together and the unity shown after the attack should be an example of how to live our lives and how great our country is."

And listen to what Margaret said. "When we, as students, learn about the Civil War and other points in history, their impact in our lives seems minimal," but ".when our teachers talk of the 9/11 attack, we can realize just how real and important history is."

We appreciate you joining us for this special edition of CNN Student News. To end our show today, we leave you with images from some of the many events held to remember 9/11.