Obama leads Americans in observing 14th anniversary of 9/11

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle today led Americans in observing the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people.

In New York, police and relatives of those killed at the World Trade Centre (WTC) began the annual reading of names of victims at Ground Zero, the present site of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

At 8:46 am, precisely 14 years after American Airlines Flight 11 flown by al-Qaeda hijackers smashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre with enough sound and fury to be heard around the world, there was silence on the South Lawn of the White House.

Obama stood, head bowed, along with his wife and senior staffers including his Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and spokesman Josh Earnest.

The flag atop the White House fluttered at half-staff.

When the President and First Lady emerged, they walked silently and somberly along the aisle, halting just short of the bugler off to their right as four bells tolled.

Heads bowed, the President and First Lady looked down for the moment of silence, the silence pierced only by plane noises and the sounds of camera drives clicking.

They then looked up and placed their hands over their hearts as the ‘Taps’ tune was played.

The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people when four hijacked airliners crashed into the WTC twin towers, the Pentagon in Washington, and in a field in Pennsylvania.