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The recitations of the nearly 3,000 names of the dead rose toward a cloudy sky over lower Manhattan Sunday morning like an epic poem chronicling one of America’s saddest days.

Bagpipes played and bells tolled in solemn tributes.
Fifteen years ago, the United States changed forever when four airliners crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The age of terror had begun.

“September 11, 2001, touched every single one of us,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Saturday during a memorial service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the city’s fire department.

“There is no New Yorker who somehow evaded the pain of that day. We all felt it. We all were affected. Everyone felt it. Everyone suffered.”

At the World Trade Center, 2,753 people were killed when the hijacked jetliners were intentionally flown into the towers.

Among those who died were 343 firefighters, 23 police officers and 37 officers with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

At Sunday’s memorial service in New York, surviving relatives stepped to the microphones in pairs at the spot where the towers once stood.

Some wore ribbons and buttons with photos of their dead loved ones. By late morning, the sun had broken through the clouds on a humid day.

Jim Giaccone remembered his older brother, Joseph Micheal, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the north tower. The financial services firm lost 658 employees that day.
“Fifteen years are like 15 seconds,” Giaccone said. “The hurt is still there. The hole is still there. You live on through your family. We miss every day. And everyone tell someone you love them today.”


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