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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Commemorates Sept. 11 Attacks

NEW YORK -- U.S. presidential politics and the health of ground zero workers loomed over the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks as relatives of World Trade Center victims gathered at a lower Manhattan park to remember the dead.

With gray skies providing a grim backdrop, the ceremony began at 8:40 a.m., with the sounds of drums and bagpipes, as an American flag saved from the site was carried onstage.

The national anthem was performed by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus before the first of four moments of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. -- the moment the first plane struck the north tower.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has presided over each of the anniversary events, described Sept. 11, 2001, as "the day that tore across our history and our hearts. We come together again as New Yorkers and as Americans to share a loss that can't be measured."

Firefighters and first responders who helped rescue New Yorkers began the annual recitation of the 2,750 victims' names shortly after the moment of silence. Many of those rescuers are now ill with respiratory problems and cancers that they blame on exposure to the fallen towers' toxic dust.

For the first time, the name of a victim who survived the attacks but died five months later of lung disease was added to the official toll. Felicia Dunn-Jones, an attorney who was working near the World Trade Center, became the 2,974th victim linked to attack sites.

Other Sept. 11 commemorations were held around the United States, including a moment of silence by President George W. Bush on the White House lawn. A memorial honoring the 40 passengers and crew who died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field was also planned.