As the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks dawn, family members of the victims will gather to remember the tragedy at ground zero, where serene music will be played and moments of silence will be observed.
Memorial services will also be held at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., marking the moment terrorists crashed four hijacked planes. As in previous years, at 8:46 a.m. ET on Wednesday, many across the nation will fall silent to mark the moment when American Airlines Flight 11 headed from Boston to Los Angeles crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center -- the first of two planes to hit the twin towers -- in a concerted attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The names of the victims will be read out loud at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza in New York City and continuing a decision made last year, no politician will speak during the solemn ceremony, the Associated Press reports. Even as the forthcoming 9/11 museum creates a new, broader framework for remembering the day, organizers of the memorial service said they plan to continue concentrating the ceremony on the victims and their loved ones.
"As things evolve in the future, the focus on the remembrance is going to stay sacrosanct," memorial President Joe Daniels told AP.
The 12 years that have elapsed since the attacks have changed the way people mark the day. While sadness is still a predominant emotion, several tributes have positive and uplifting emotions, USA Today reports, adding that 2 in 3 Americans say they've “moved on” from the horror associated with the attack. Still, an equal percentage of Americans said they would mark the occasion by saying a prayer or attending a memorial service, according to an American Pulse survey conducted for the newspaper.
"Our country will always remember Sept. 11 victims," David Paine, co-founder of the nonprofit, 9/11 Day Observance, told USA Today, but how that's done "is evolving."
Paine said that he has observed an increasing number of people pledging to do a good deed on the day.
"This is growing at a grass-roots level more than in the 12 years that I've been working on this," he said.