As bells tolled solemnly, Americans marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Wednesday with the reading of the names, moments of silence and serene music that have become tradition.
The South Bend Fire Department hosted a ceremony at Seitz Park in memory of the victims, as well as 15 firefighters killed in the line of duty.
There was a minute of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the ceremony was about more than just that day 12 years ago.
“We want to make sure that we're not only remembering one tragic day but we're remembering the day in day out work first responders do in a place like South Bend all the time,” he explained.
The fire department is hosting a blood drive Wednesday until 6 p.m. at the Central Fire Station on Michigan Street.
Clay Fire Territory held a ringing of the bell ceremony Wednesday morning at the Freedom Memorial at St. Patrick's County Park.
First responders and community members gathered for the traditional ceremony to honor all of those who lost their lives during the attacks on our country.
The memorial includes a sculpture titled "Standing Tall" and a section of a steel beam from ground zero in New York City.
A piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center accompanied a firefighter's helmet and a police officer's hat during a ceremony Wednesday at Indianapolis International Airport. Firefighters sang the national anthem to observers, who included airport emergency responders deployed to Ground Zero.
Tributes also were held at the 9/11 memorial in downtown Indianapolis. Speakers included Don Basco of Dyer, who was at work in the World Trade Center when the attacks occurred.
Around the country
Life in lower Manhattan resembled any ordinary day on Wednesday as workers rushed to their jobs in the muggy heat, but time stood still at the World Trade Center site while families wept for loved ones who perished in the terror attacks 12 years ago.
For the families, the memories of that day are still vivid, the pain still acute. Some who read the names of a beloved big brother or a cherished daughter could hardly speak through their tears.
"Has it really been 12 years? Or 12 days? Sometimes it feels the same," said Michael Fox, speaking aloud to his brother, Jeffrey, who perished in the south tower. "Sometimes I reach for the phone so I can call you, and we can talk about our kids like we used to do every day."
On the memorial plaza overlooking two reflecting pools in the imprint of the twin towers, relatives recited the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died when hijacked jets crashed into the towers, the Pentagon and in a field near Shanksville, Pa. They also recognized the victims of the 1993 trade center bombing.
Bells tolled to mark the planes hitting the towers and the moments when the skyscrapers fell. "Tribute in Light" searchlights, turned on at sunset, illuminated the skies where the twin towers once stood.
In Washington, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden walked out to the White House's South Lawn for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. - the time the first plane struck the north tower in New York. Another jetliner struck the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.
"Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been," Obama said.
A moment of silence was also held at the U.S. Capitol.