9/11 commemoration begins with bell toll

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9/11 Commemoration Begins With Bell Toll

By RACHELLE BLIDNER & JONATHAN LEMIRE

NEW YORK (AP) -- With the toll of a bell and a solemn moment of silence, the nation paused Thursday to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack.

Stephen Albert, whose father Jon died during the attacks, kicked off reading the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He said his dad was a dedicated father, husband and respected colleague.

"He will be sorely missed," he said.

The sad roll call was to pause only four times: to mark the times when the first plane struck the World Trade Center, when the second plane struck, when the first tower fell and when the second tower fell.

Thelma Stuart, whose husband Walwyn Wellington Stuart, Jr., 28, was a Port Authority Police Department officer, said the nation should pray for its leaders, "that God will grant them wisdom, knowledge and understanding on directing them on moving forward."

Little about the annual ceremony at ground zero has changed. But so much around it has.

For the first time, the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum - which includes gut-wrenching artifacts and graphic photos of the attacks - will be open on the anniversary. Fences around the memorial plaza have come down, integrating the sacred site more fully with the streets of Manhattan while completely opening it up to the public and camera-wielding tourists.

A new mayor is in office, Bill de Blasio, one far less linked to the attacks and their aftermath than his immediate predecessors. And finally, a nearly completed One World Trade Center has risen 1,776 feet above ground zero and will be filled with office workers by this date in 2015, another sign that a page in the city's history may be turning.

On Thursday, New Yorkers went about their morning routines along sidewalks that were once cordoned off. Inside the plaza, families milled quietly.

Franklin Murray of New York wore a shirt with a photo of his brother, Harry Glen, and the words "our angel" above the photo and "the wind beneath our wings" below. Glen worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the companies most decimated.

He said he wanted to see the memorial for the first time, and it gave him a "funny feeling" to know there was now a memorial. He has come to the ceremony before but "before it was getting harder, so I forced myself to get down here."

"Coming down to the area is rough," he said.

For some who lost loved ones in the attacks, the increasing feel of a return to normalcy in the area threatens to obscure the tragedy that took place there and interfere with their grief.

"Instead of a quiet place of reflection, it's where kids are running around," said Nancy Nee, whose firefighter brother, George Cain, was killed in the attacks. "Some people forget this is a cemetery. I would never go to the Holocaust museum and take a selfie."

But for others, the changes are an important part of the healing process.

"When I first saw (One World Trade Center), it really made my heart sing," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles Burlingame was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. "It does every time I see it because it's so symbolic of what the country went through."

"I want to see it bustling," she said. "I want to see more housing down there; I want to see it alive and bursting with businesses."

The memorial plaza will be closed to the public for most of the day and available only to family members. It will reopen at 6 p.m., at which point thousands of New Yorkers are expected to mark the anniversary at the twin reflecting pools where the towers once stood.

In May, when the museum opened in a ceremony attended by President Barack Obama, the fences that had surrounded the plaza for years disappeared, as did the need for visitors to obtain a timed ticket. Now, thousands of people freely visit every day, from cellphone-toting travelers to workers on a lunch break, and those crowds will only swell further this year when One World Trade Center finally opens.

The first ceremony at the site was held six months after the Twin Towers fell and was organized by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his aides. Bloomberg, who took office just three months after the attacks, remained in charge, acting as the master of ceremonies for the next decade. He attended on Thursday.

After other elected officials attempted to gain a larger role at the solemn event, in 2012, all politicians - including Bloomberg - were prohibited from speaking at the event. That remains the case now.

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9/11 Commemoration
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9/11 commemoration begins with bell toll
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, as they observe a moment of silence to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A woman reaches out to touch rose on one of the benches of the Pentagon Memorial at the at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. President Barack Obama will attend the wreath laying later this morning to to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and others, put their hands on their hearts during the playing of Taps on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, as they mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
As the American flag waves at half-staff on the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks, workmen pause amid the scaffolding during repair work on the dome of the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Members of the New York Police Department, Fire Department of New York and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department carry an American flag at the beginning of the memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
The Tribute in Light rises behind buildings adjacent to the World Trade Center complex at the National September 11 Memorial, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, in New York. The tribute, an art installation of 88 searchlights aiming skyward in two columns, is a remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
writes on a replica of a twin trade towers behind a sea of American flags during a memorial in Matthews, N.C., on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. The 2,997 American flags are displayed for each person lost on Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Retired Matthews Fire Department Captain Dob Bobbitt walks past a sea of American flags during a memorial in Matthews, N.C., on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. The 2,997 American flags are displayed for each person lost on Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
From left, President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, participate in a ceremony at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Paola Braut, of Belgium, cries over a photograph of her son Patrice along the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)
Paola Braut, of Belgium, kisses a photograph of her son Patrice along the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)
From left, President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joints Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey bow their heads during a moment of silence at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
1 World Trade Center is reflected in the side of a building as Tyrone McClave, of Bristol, Penn., looks up at it during a moment of silence on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
A rose is left at the name of Michael Grady during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Robert Sabo, Pool)
White roses are placed in an inscribed name along the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)
An American flag is placed in an inscribed name along the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)
Janice Lynch, of Queens, pauses at the inscription of her friend Patricia Massani's name at the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)
A woman pauses at the edge of the North Pool during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)
United States Navy veteran Richard Fill, of Easton, Penn., looks up at 1 World Trade Center during a moment of silence on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Police officers, rear, patrol a few blocks from the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site before a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stand during the playing of Taps on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington as they mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A Marine bugler plays Taps as President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and others, stand on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, as they mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Flowers sit on one of the benches of the Pentagon Memorial at the at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. President Barack Obama will attend the wreath laying later this morning to to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A woman walks with a child near United States flags with 1 World Trade Center, rear left, in the background, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. The country is observing the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A man places a flower on one of the benches of the Pentagon Memorial at the at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. President Barack Obama will attend the wreath laying later this morning to to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Sam Pulia, mayor of Westchester, Ill., and a former police officer of the same town, salutes over the name of his cousin, New York firefighter Thomas Anthony Casoria, who was killed in the South Tower in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, prior to the the memorial observances held at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
Sam Pulia, mayor of Westchester, Ill., and a former police officer of the same town, mourns over the name of his cousin, New York firefighter Thomas Anthony Casoria, who was killed in the South Tower in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, prior to the the memorial observances held at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
A firefighter looks at a memorial mural on the outside of firehouse Engine 10 Company 10 adjacent to the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Three hundred forty three New York firefighters were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Family members etch their loved one's names in paper prior to the memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
Members of the New York Police Department, Fire Department of New York and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department carry an American flag at the beginning of the memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
A woman cries prior to the memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
Residents and guests stand by a sea of American flags during a memorial in Matthews, N.C., on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. The 2,997 American flags are displayed for each person lost in the attacks. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Sophia Demos carries her daughter Eleni Tsokanis, 1, as they walk past a sea of American flags during a memorial in Matthews, N.C., on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. The 2,997 American flags are displayed for each person lost in the attacks. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A memorial for firefighter Gerald T. Atwood is attached to an American flag in a sea of American flags during a memorial in Matthews, N.C., on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. The 2,997 American flags are displayed for each person lost in the attacks. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Anthony DeBlase, left, and his mother Anita, right, hold the paper as Alexandra DeBlase rubs the name of their lost loved one James V DeBlase during memorial observances on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Robert Sabo, Pool)
United States Marine Corps veteran John Croft, right, leads a group of athletes through calisthenics at the end of the GORUCK 9/11 Tribute Challenge, a few blocks from 1 World Trade Center on the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
A police counterterrorism officer stands a few blocks from the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site before a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
A police K-9 unit stands a few blocks from the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site before a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Storm clouds roll over 1 World Trade Center, center, seen from The Heights neighborhood of Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Thirteen years after 9/11 forever changed the New York skyline, officials say developments at the World Trade Center are on track and on budget. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Billy Joel lead motorcycle ride to Ground Zero, retracing route taken by firefighters on 9/11. Cuomo rides a black Harley-Davidson and Billy Joel rides a blue-and-white Drifter. The governor invited the rock star to lead the dozens of bikes from the Rescue 1 firehouse on W. 43rd St. to Ground Zero because 'he's the quintessential New York citizen who never forgot where he came from.' Joel told the Daily News that it was an honor to accept the firefighters' invitation to ride with them. The tribute ride stretched from Rescue 1 firehouse in midtown to the World Trade Center memorial plaza. Dozens rode toward Ground Zero on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Photo By: Marcus Santos/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Rocco Santillan, 6, holds a photo of his aunt, Maria Theresa Santillan, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, while sitting on the shoulders of his father, Victor Santillan, during memorial observances held at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. In New York, family members of those killed at the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims at a ceremony at ground zero. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan/Pool)
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