LANSING, MI (WILX) - Americans are commemorating 9/11 with mournful ceremonies, volunteering, appeals to "never forget" and rising attention to the terror attacks' extended toll on responders.
A crowd of victims' relatives were at ground zero Wednesday and President Donald Trump joined in an observance at the Pentagon.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Eighteen years after the deadliest terror attack on American soil, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath at ground zero, in Congress and beyond.
The attacks' aftermath is visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan, where a post-9/11 invasion has become America's longest war.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when hijacked planes rammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Shanksville field on Sept. 11, 2001.
Michigan legislators have released their reflections on the 18th anniversary.
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) released the following statement:
“September 11th was one of the most consequential days in our nation’s history, leaving an indelible mark on each of us,” Slotkin said. “I was on my second day of graduate school in New York when the towers came down, and I watched the firefighters who worked on my street rush toward the scene. Some did not return. I knew by the end of that day that I would pursue a career in national security, and spend my life protecting our country.”
“My generation was shaped not just by the tragedy of that day, but by the remarkable bravery of our first responders and the resilience, unity, and patriotism that brought communities across our country together. At a time when our country feels more divided than ever, remembering the lives that were lost and honoring those who ran toward those buildings is something that brings us all together.”
“As each year passes, there are more and more young people who do not have a firsthand memory of that day. There are young men and women old enough to enlist in the military today who were not yet born on 9/11. I hope that everyone takes a moment out of our busy lives, steps back, and shares our memories of that day with our kids or grandkids –– the sacrifice and strength of our first responders, and the unity and patriotism that can still define who we are as a country.”
U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg:
"Today is Patriot Day 2019 - marking 18 years since the tragic events of 9/11 unfolded. It is a day those of us who lived through will never forget. It is etched in our hearts. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost that day, as our nation came under attack by radical Islamic extremists. More than 6,000 people were injured... and in the years since we've lost many first responders due to medical conditions developed through their heroic service in the search and rescue operations."
"On this Patriot Day 2019 - a national day of service and remembrance - we pause to reflect on those precious lives lost.
It's also important that we take a moment to recognize those who've recovered and are still recovering, and the loved ones left behind to carry on. We can NEVER forget.
We must continually renew our commitment to remain vigilant against the threat posed by extremists who want to attack America and Western civilization at large. We must remain united as Americans FIRST, to remain a beacon of strength and hope around the world."
"A new generation is coming of age... a generation that does not remember what unfolded on that Tuesday morning 18 years ago. It is our duty to teach and guide them, and we all have a role to play. Thank you for allowing me a moment to share my thoughts today, as we remember those lost, those hurting, and the actions of the brave heroes who acted selflessly to save countless lives."
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox Statement On Patriot Day:
"Today, we remember those that were tragically lost, 18 years ago. We honor the fallen, and the many families who still grieve. We salute the brave Americans who answered the call to serve that day and those who have protected our nation ever since. Let us never forget September 11, 2001 and may God continue to bless America.”
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement on the 18th anniversary of 9/11:
"Today, we re-affirm our commitment to always remember the 3,000 innocent men, women and children who died in one of the worst attacks in our nation’s history," said Chairwoman McDaniel. "We grieve with the families who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. And, we offer our endless gratitude to the first responders who rushed to the scene and our military men and women who answered the call to fight extremism and defend freedom.
"As threats against our people and our way of life persist, may God watch over our country, our Commander-in-Chief and the brave men and women who continue to protect us both at home and abroad."
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor:
"We all remember where we are when we heard the horrible news that our nation was under attack. I am from New York, and I had friends and family in Manhattan on that fateful day. I remember being frantic to know my loved ones were safe. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives that day. Today we stand here to remember those first responders who ran into those buildings and risked their lives. We honor those first responders and volunteers who spent weeks looking for survivors and beginning the long process to rebuild not only buildings but hearts, lives and communities. Today we remember and honor those who lost their lives in those terrible events"
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and on all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 to remember those who lost their lives during the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.
“We will never forget the thousands of Americans who lost their lives, including the first responders who put their lives on the line to save thousands more,” Whitmer said. “Despite the tremendous adversity that our country faced during those attacks, we came together as a nation to prove that love is stronger than hate.”
Flying the Flag
The State of Michigan honors Patriot Day by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.
To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.
Flags should be returned to full-staff on Thursday, September 12, 2019.
Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.