NEW YORK — The nation paused on Sunday to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost 15 years ago when Islamic terrorists launched a coordinated attack on two World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, and hijacked a fourth plane destined for an unknown location.
Memorial services were held in New York and Washington today, as well as in a Pennsylvania field where passengers aboard Flight93 lost their lives after valiantly fighting their hijackers.
“It’s all very beautiful because you are surrounded by people who are going through and feeling the same thing you are going through,” Nancy Shakouri, sister of Dennis Scauso, a firefighter who lost his life helping others, told reporters. “We can’t imagine being anywhere else on this day.”
Bells rang out at 8:46 a.m., the time that the first plane sliced through the World Trade Center. Presenters read the names of those whose lost their lives, including those in their own family.
“Just keep on praying for us,” Luticia Hook, a Pentagon employee who suffered burns in the attack, requested. “Not only for me, those who lost a loved one, the children. Just keep on praying. Stop hating. Hating is no good.”
Jeremy D’Amadeo was just ten years old when he lost his father in the attack on the World Trade Center. He went on to work at a summer camp for children who lost loved ones on 9/11.
“This summer I had the privilege of working with kids who had their own tragic loss, kids of Sandy Hook,” D’Amadeo explained, according to the Los Angeles Times. “These kids lifted me up and made me know that I wanted to give back as much as I can.”
“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us on the paths we should be going, to help others as much as we can,” he said.
Barack Obama attended a ceremony at the Pentagon, telling those gathered, “No deed we do can ever truly erase the pain of their absence. Your steadfast love and faithfulness has been an inspiration to me and our entire country.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton attended a memorial event in Manhattan. Clinton left early due to what her representatives called overheating and had difficulty walking as she was escorted into a van.
Attack survivor Sujo John, who escaped the 81st floor of the North Tower, spoke at a first responders appreciation dinner in New Jersey on Saturday night and is expected to address a church in New York City Sunday evening. Now an evangelist, John shares his 9/11 story at events across the country, and is also featured in an “I Am Second” YouTube video.
“Until that moment in my life, I was a closet Christian. I would never be very vocal or verbal about my faith,” John explains in the footage. “But facing death, I felt this boldness to speak up for Jesus, and I started calling out ‘Jesus!’”
“My prayer on this anniversary is that America’s churches would again be ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we would once again preach the simple gospel of Jesus Christ to America,” John states. “Let us pledge … that we would make the gospel seen in this nation that is in deep need of a move of God.”