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Coronavirus Pandemic Alters 9/11 Tribute Traditions for Americans

September 11, 2020, 07.08 PM

NEW YORK, - The US presidential election and coronavirus pandemic has altered the way Americans are commemorating 9/11 this year.

President Donald Trump and his opponent in the November election Joe Biden paid respects to the September 11 victims at the same memorial without crossing paths.

A dispute over coronavirus-linked safety precautions is leading to remembrances in two locations Friday.

One is at the September 11 Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner.

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The Pentagon’s observance of the 9/11 attacks will be highly restricted that victims’ families will not be allowed to attend though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said.

Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

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In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the US grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice, and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it's important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon, and near Shanksville on September 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety, and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

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“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump's second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018.


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