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Live Updates: 20 Years After 9/11, Biden Calls on Americans to Show ‘Democracy Can Work’

The New York Police Department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit operating a drone in 2018.
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Credit…Uli Seit for The New York Times

Since the fall of the World Trade Center, the security apparatus born from the Sept. 11 attack has fundamentally changed the way that New York City’s police department operates, altering its approach to finding and foiling terrorist threats, but also to cracking minor cases.

New Yorkers simply going about their daily lives routinely encounter post-9/11 surveillance tools like facial recognition software, license plate readers or mobile X-ray vans that can see through car doors. Surveillance drones hover above mass demonstrations, and protesters say they have been questioned by antiterrorism officers after marches.

The department’s Intelligence Division, redesigned in 2002 to confront Al Qaeda operatives, now uses antiterror tactics to fight gang violence and street crime.

Policing technology has always advanced along with the world at large. And the police have long used surveillance cameras to find suspects caught on video, publicizing images of people and asking the public for help identifying them.

But both supporters and critics of the shift say it is almost impossible to overstate how profoundly the attacks changed American policing — perhaps most acutely in New York, which lost 23 of its own officers that day, and hundreds more from 9/11-related illnesses in the years since.

Current and former police officials say the tools have been effective in thwarting dozens of would-be attacks. And the department has an obligation, they say, to repurpose its counterterrorism tools for everyday crime fighting.

But others say the prevalence of the Police Department’s technological arsenal subjects ordinary New Yorkers to near-constant surveillance — a burden that falls more heavily on people of color.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses have arrived outside the Pentagon for a wreath-laying ceremony. A giant American flag is draped on the side of the building.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001, outside St. Francis Assisi Church for the burial service of Mychal Judge — a Franciscan friar, priest and chaplain to the New York City Fire Department — who died on Sept. 11 while administering last rites at the World Trade Center. I was not allowed to move inside to photograph dignitaries and speakers: That turned out to be a blessing. The church was full, but a crowd gathered in front of the Engine 1/Ladder 24 firehouse opposite the church, a crew of mostly firefighters, some in old uniforms. At the end of the homily, Mr. Judge’s friend and fellow friar Michael A. Duffy asked everyone to stand, raise their right hands and give Mychal, who had blessed so many people in life and death, a blessing. The crowd in front of the fire house raised their hands and repeated the benediction that he had given to so many others.

Credit…Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

After visiting ground zero and the Flight 93 memorial, President Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, have landed at Joint Base Andrews near Washington. They are scheduled to attend a ceremony at the Pentagon this afternoon.

The New York City Fire Department Memorial Wall in Lower Manhattan.
Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Everyone who lived through Sept. 11 carries the emotional scars of the day, whether we witnessed the scenes in person or just watched on television.

I still flinch when a low plane flies overhead, and I will never forget the tragedy I witnessed that day. But I try to focus on a small act of kindness that helped me get through it.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was at my desk in The Wall Street Journal’s office building, across the street from the World Trade Center. After the planes hit, our building was evacuated, and the small staff that had come to work early gathered outside. We were dazed and devastated by what was happening around us, but it helped to focus on our jobs, reporting the events of the day.

My assignment was to walk toward the towers to interview people on the ground. I spoke to a woman who worked in the North Tower, who told a harrowing story of feeling the floor buckle when the plane hit her building. She said it felt like she was on a roller coaster as the entire floor rippled in waves, up and down. As she told me of her escape down more than 70 flights of stairs, I heard a strange, guttural rumble.

We were standing about a block or two from the North Tower, and we both turned around slowly toward the noise and saw the tower begin to collapse. Crowds of terrified people were running toward us. It was hard to process what was happening, but it reminded me of a scene from a Godzilla movie. The woman I’d been talking to figured it out before I did. “It’s falling!” she screamed and grabbed my hand. “Run!”

I started to run, but I was wearing heels and could only shuffle. So I kicked off my shoes and ran barefoot.

The massive debris cloud consumed us, and people started scattering, trying to get indoors at nearby buildings. A doorman at one apartment building was waving his arms, beckoning us to seek cover. Once inside, the residents welcomed us into their homes, giving us water to drink and wet towels to wipe away the ash. A woman named Phyllis noticed my bare feet and gave me a pair of Birkenstock sandals that happened to be just the right size. She was visiting from Atlanta, and told me to keep them.

It turned out I needed those shoes. Over the course of the day, as I tried to make my way home, I ended up walking nearly 10 miles.

Mourners have inserted flowers into the engraved names around the memorial fountain.

Credit…Corey Kilgannon for The New York Times

I drove in early to the Boston Globe, listening to WBUR. By the time I pulled onto the Globe’s rooftop parking deck, I knew. Marty Baron, the new-ish top editor, met me at the glass doors that led to the newsroom and said simply: Sit down and start writing the story.

Credit…Andy Kovács

He needed a lead story for an old-fashioned print extra, published that afternoon. I still remember watching the collapses live on the TV above my desk, deleting the lede “The twin towers of the World Trade Center were hit by planes” and typing in, “The twin towers were destroyed.”

From the moment this event started happening in my home city, I was channeling it into journalism: calling my friends who worked nearby to see if they were all right, calling doctor friends who were scrubbed in and waiting for casualties. (Of course none came: People were mostly just scratched up, or dead.)

Within days, I was reporting in New York. Within weeks, in Pakistan. By then I knew my next posting as an international correspondent might not be the one I’d learned Russian for.

But I didn’t know then, at 30, that I would spend most of the next two decades reporting on the reverberations, and that I would spend 10 of them in the Middle East, covering conflicts connected one way or another, if not to the attacks themselves, then to the United States’ response.

That Elizabeth Neuffer, the first Globe reporter on scene at the World Trade Center (and later one of few to report correctly before the Iraq invasion that U.S. troops would not be widely welcomed) would die in Iraq, the first of many friends lost in the wars.

That much of my life would become intertwined with the effort to document these events: My marriage to a fellow war correspondent. My network of colleagues across the region who became beloved and indispensable friends. My children growing from babies to big kids in Beirut. The ripples still changing our whole society — our city, our politics, and especially the other countries that bore by far the brunt of the ensuing deaths. Our world.

President Biden in Shanksville, Pa., on Saturday.
Credit…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

Shortly after former President George W. Bush spoke at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Saturday, President Biden arrived to observe a wreath-laying ceremony at the place where, 20 years ago, a plane crashed after brave passengers and crew members confronted the terrorists who had hijacked it.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘I know I should step up.’ It’s another thing to do it,’” Mr. Biden said to a crowd gathered at a volunteer fire department after the ceremony. “That’s genuine heroism.”

Mr. Biden praised Mr. Bush’s speech, a call to unity for Americans divided by their political differences. And as he prepared to leave Shanksville for his last stop at the Pentagon, the president addressed a topic that takes up great deal of his attention: the existential battle he feels is happening in America, and the choice he believes must be made between democracy and the rising influence of authoritarianism.

“Are we going to — in the next four, five, six, 10 years — demonstrate that democracies can work, or not?” he asked.

As president, Mr. Biden is struggling to move on from the far-reaching aftermath of the attacks. The end of the war in Afghanistan has been politically costly for him and has made it difficult for him to pivot to a foreign policy doctrine that positions the country to fight what he sees as more pressing challenges: combating climate change, preparing for future pandemics and keeping pace with China.

Before he left Shanksville, Mr. Biden said that he was appalled at how coarse the political dialogue between Republicans and Democrats had become.

“They think this makes sense for us to be in this kind of thing where you ride down the street and someone has a sign saying ‘F so and so,’” Mr. Biden said, referring to the expletive-laden signs that are often spotted along presidential motorcade routes.

The astronaut Shane Kimbrough spoke from the International Space Station.
Credit…NASA TV, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An astronaut paid tribute from space on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Shane Kimbrough, a NASA astronaut from expedition 65, remembered the monumental day with remarks from the International Space Station that were shared via Twitter. “To the victims and their families, survivors and first responders: we remember,” he said. “The horrifying images of that day are still present in so many of our minds.”

Mr. Kimbrough remembered that period of time as one where “we saw the strength and resilience of our nation and the incredible support from people all around the world.”

He said the International Space Station is an example of what can be accomplished through global partnership. Mr. Kimbrough spoke from the station’s Japanese Kibo laboratory with an American flag floating in the background.

“Over the last 20 years, we’ve been continuously living together in space while operating among many nations to improve lives for all of us back on Earth,” he said. “People from all over the world and from all walks of life joined together to accomplish the incredible engineering feat of building an International Space Station in low Earth orbit.”

NASA has marked Sept. 11 over the years with ceremonies on Earth, in space and memorials on other planets.

The New York Times was still mainly a print newspaper 20 years ago. At ground zero today, a man holds up a copy from September 12, 2001.

Credit…Corey Kilgannon for The New York Times

The president is on his way back to Washington, where he will attend a wreath ceremony at the Pentagon.

Pedestrians walking by the proposed site for an Islamic center and mosque in Manhattan in 2010.
Credit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

To the two men who envisioned it, an Egyptian-American real estate developer and an imam long involved in interfaith initiatives, Park51 was a simple but necessary project: a Muslim community center, modeled on the Jewish Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with spaces for worship, athletics and cultural programs, open to the public.

But amid lingering tensions and increased Islamophobia 10 years after 9/11, some politicians and a few families of 9/11 victims opposed the plan to build the center several blocks from the former World Trade Center site and called it a “ground zero mosque.”

Opponents even suggested that the project was intended as a victory marker for Islamic extremists, although Muslims had long been part of the fabric of Lower Manhattan and lacked sufficient space for prayer in the area. The ensuing media melee eventually scuttled the plans.

Last week, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, apologized in an essay on CNN.com. The group, founded to fight religious bias, had pushed for a different location for the mosque.

Cordoba House, an organization founded by the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, welcomed the apology. The developer, Sharif El Gamal, declined to comment. But his sister, Jasmine M. El Gamal, who was a Middle East adviser at the Defense Department during the controversy, had a mixed response on Saturday.

“It takes guts to admit a mistake,” she said. “But the apology has an important missing piece: why the A.D.L. opposed Park51. It was Islamophobia and fear of standing up to it. After 9/11, Muslims were bad for politics.”

Ms. El Gamal, who has written about her experiences as a translator at Guantánamo Bay, said 9/11 was doubly painful since “Muslims were both targeted by extremists and blamed for extremists.”

“We were, and remain, caught between a rock and a hard place,” she said, “used as pawns and proxies to make a greater point or start a larger conflict.”

After the terror attacks, people put aside their differences for a time. American flags flew from windows on Park Avenue. Memorials, like this one in Union Square, sprouted up around the city. Prayer and candlelight vigils were held regularly. People reached out and supported each other: The country grieved collectively.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A visitor walked outside the Capitol on Thursday.
Credit…Tom Brenner for The New York Times

At the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, it was a seemingly normal day as people jogged the perimeter and tourists snapped photos of themselves. Visitors and locals, though, said they felt the gravity of the day.

Amanda Harness, a 36-year-old web developer from the Orlando, Fla., area, was standing in the shade and gazing at the Capitol with her wife on Saturday morning. Ms. Harness, who had never been to Washington before, said it was “surreal” to be at the Capitol on the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11.

Although she originally wanted to visit Washington in April, she said she did not want to see the Capitol when it was surrounded by metal fencing after the Jan. 6 riot.

“That gives me more goosebumps. It was so recent,” Ms. Harness said. “But it’s still standing like it never happened.”

Kelly Miller, 34, stopped by the Capitol with a friend, eating doughnuts outside. Ms. Miller, who left her job as a senior legislative assistant on the Hill last year, said potential attacks on the building were something she often thought about, given the events of Sept. 11.

“The threat of violence is something that you’re always a little bit aware of as a Hill staffer,” Ms. Miller said.

Tony Faith, 71, visited the Capitol for the first time with his wife, Connie Faith, 70, on Saturday.

“It’s a little eerie,” Mr. Faith said, standing near the lawn outside of the building. His wife called him 20 years ago when he was working as an elementary school principal in Minnesota and told him about the news after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. He stood in the school’s library and watched in shock as the second plane hit.

Investigators believe the Capitol could have been the target of hijackers who took control of United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11. The plane was headed to Washington when it crashed into a grassy field in Pennsylvania.

Jose Santiago, left, developed a range of illnesses after reporting at the scene. Mary Montgomery’s husband, who worked at ground zero, died of esophageal cancer.
Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

The Sept. 11 terror attack on the World Trade Center has been remembered for the 2,753 lives lost in New York that horrific morning.

But that toll has very likely been eclipsed by deaths from exposure to toxic pollutants in the air in the weeks and months after the collapse — and that number keeps growing.

After the twin towers fell, the firefighters, paramedics, police officers and others who selflessly rushed to the scene were hailed as heroes. But over the years, health problems, like cancer, respiratory illnesses and other ailments, remained and have continued to emerge.

By some estimates, more than 400,000 people in Lower Manhattan, including those who lived, worked and studied there, were exposed to toxic material from the pulverized towers, leading to health issues that were diagnosed many years later.

Of the 111,005 ground zero responders and survivors enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, 4,610 have died, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some health officials believe many died from Sept. 11-related illnesses — and that the toll is in fact higher, given the likelihood that many people have died who were not enrolled in the program and did not know their illness was Sept. 11-related.

Barbara Burnette, 58, of Bayside, Queens, was a New York City police detective who helped for several weeks with recovery efforts in the smoldering debris of the collapsed towers. Several years later, she could not walk up a flight of stairs because of the lung disease that was diagnosed in 2004. Then came lung cancer in 2017. She now uses a wheelchair and oxygen.

“We didn’t even think about masks at the time,” she said. “We were working so much that it didn’t cross our minds we could get sick. What makes it so sad is, we would do it all again.”

Gordon Felt, second left, brother of Edward Porter Felt and the president of Families for Flight 93, with President Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, at the Wall of Names in Shanksville, Pa., on Saturday.
Credit…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

Edward Porter Felt was among the 40 passengers and crew members killed when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a grassy Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11. On Saturday, his brother urged a solemn crowd to honor all their memories by living with valor.

“Were we worthy of their sacrifice?” Gordon Felt asked those assembled at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. “Do we share the same willingness to sacrifice for others?”

Mr. Felt, the president of Families for Flight 93, reminded those assembled of the courage of those on the flight who attempted to seize control of the jet from the hijackers before it ultimately crashed to the ground, killing everyone on board but keeping the plane from its intended target.

Mr. Felt spoke to a crowd of nearly 500 assembled in a sunny clearing. A marble wall and walkway separated the field from the crash site; engraved in several places were the words: “A common field one day. A field of honor forever.”

Those gathered in Shanksville on Saturday included the crew of the Navy’s U.S.S. Somerset, which was named for Somerset County, Pa., in honor of Flight 93’s final resting place, and family members and friends of the deceased.

Biden again looks forward in Shanksville, addressing a topic that seems to take up a great deal of his attention. He speaks often about the existential battle he feels is happening in America, and the choice he feels must be made between democracy and the influence of authoritarianism. “Are we going to — in the next four, five, six, 10 years — demonstrate that democracies can work, or not?” he asked reporters.

Biden spoke to reporters in Shanksville for several minutes. He praised the Flight 93 passengers and crew. “It’s one thing to say, ‘I know I should step up.’ It’s another thing to do it. That’s genuine heroism.”

Former President Donald J. Trump visited the 17th Precinct of the New York City Police Department on Saturday.
Credit…Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Notably absent from the 9/11 memorial ceremonies on Saturday was former President Donald J. Trump, a native New Yorker who built much of his political brand in the divisive aftermath of the attacks. Mr. Trump was in New York City, his spokeswoman said, but was not planning to visit ground zero.

“He had the option to attend but decided to honor the day with different stops,” his spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, said.

President Biden, former President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton all attended the somber name-reading ceremony in Lower Manhattan. Former President George W. Bush spoke at a memorial near Shanksville, Pa., where Mr. Biden attended a wreath-laying ceremony.

But instead of appearing at one of the ceremonies, Mr. Trump released a series of aggressive statements that criticized Mr. Biden’s handling of the troop pullout in Afghanistan and praised his allies, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer and the mayor of New York on the day of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Lee Cochran, a spokeswoman for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, confirmed that Mr. Trump had been given the same information about the ceremony as the other current and former presidents who did attend.

“You would have to ask Trump’s team about their decision, but he did not attend today’s commemoration,” Ms. Cochran said.

Mr. Trump spoke at a police precinct and a firehouse in Manhattan, reviving his criticism against Mr. Biden’s decisions in Afghanistan and delivering his usual campaign fare about crime in cities led by Democrats.

He was also expected to virtually address Let Us Worship, an evangelical event at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., around 6:50 p.m., Ms. Harrington said. And he was set to provide commentary for a pay-per-view boxing match in Hollywood, Fla.

“I love great fighters and great fights,” Mr. Trump said in a news release for the event. “I look forward to seeing both this Saturday night and sharing my thoughts ringside.”

Mr. Trump has claimed that he spent extensive time with emergency workers in the aftermath of the attacks, but the workers have said that claim is exaggerated.

In the weeks following Sept. 11, I was assigned to photograph the aftermath. As I was driving, I saw a fire truck with blown-out windows, no longer red but covered in white ash and debris. It had been towed back to the firehouse, Engine 226. When I glanced to my right, I saw an emotional moment unfolding, and I quietly took two pictures. Lt. Matt Nelson, left, reacts, as Tom Casatelli, the truck’s sole survivor of that day, embraces the son of his fallen comrade Lt. Bob Wallace. It is a moment that still haunts me.

Credit…Nancy Siesel/The New York Times

It almost feels like a musical coda to the memorial today, as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police department’s pipe and drum band marches down Church Street past the Freedom Tower at ground zero.

Credit…Corey Kilgannon for The New York Times

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida spoke at a Sept. 11 memorial in the Tampa suburb of Palm Harbor.
Credit…Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

At an otherwise somber commemoration near Tampa, Fla., Gov. Ron DeSantis drew enthusiastic applause from a crowd of nearly 500 as he spoke about the lives lost and the global aftershocks of Sept. 11.

“We can’t let it happen again, but we definitely have sent a message that America will respond,” Mr. DeSantis said at a Sept. 11 memorial in the Curlew Hills cemetery in Palm Harbor. “We were united after 9/11. It would sure be nice if we could have some of that unity in our country right now.”

The ceremony drew older residents as well as children wearing commemorative shirts and stickers marking the terror attack of 2001, long before they were born.

Credit…Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

Two former New Yorkers in the audience who have relocated to Florida, Loretta Grande, 60, and Kristen DeRose, 48, remarked on how differently the anniversary is remembered in the two states.

“Here in Florida, it’s like it was never real,” Ms. Grande said. “That’s heartbreaking for us, because we know it was real. We’ve seen the devastation of the aftermath of it.”

What sticks with me is not the fire, not the crushed gray concrete of the Pentagon, but the sensation of the cool fall air and the unrelenting blue sky. Pieces of green jet structure were underfoot. I had only moments to shoot before rescue teams and others dominated the scene. I knew that space well. It was on my way home from the bureau every day. I had met two of the people on that plane. By the time fighter jets passed overhead — as if in silent, angered tribute — I knew American life would never be the same.

Credit…Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

A Taliban fighter stands guard while women, many wearing burqas, march in support of the Taliban in Kabul on Saturday.
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Hundreds of women, many wearing full-length burqas, their faces veiled, filled the auditorium of a Kabul university on Saturday holding signs in support of the Taliban and its strict interpretation of Islam, including separate education for men and women.

The Taliban said the demonstration at Shaheed Rabbani Education University, which followed anti-Taliban protests last week by Afghan women demanding equal rights, was organized by female university lecturers and students. Many of the signs held aloft were in English.

Reporters on the street near Saturday’s march were kept away from the women by Taliban fighters armed with automatic rifles and were not allowed to speak with any of them. Later attempts to reach the participants through social media or the university went unanswered.

Held on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the demonstration served as a stark reminder of how the women of Afghanistan could be thrown back to an earlier era following last month’s Taliban takeover and departure of American troops from the county.

Since the United States and its allies departed Kabul on Aug. 30, leaving Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban, the country’s women have been at the forefront of protests demanding that their rights continue to be respected.

Taliban leaders have responded to those protests with violence, beating participants, including women, and insisting that anyone taking to the streets for a public demonstration must first be granted approval from their caretaker government.

Bridget Gormley, bottom left, and her brothers, Billy, Kevin and Ray Gormley, lost their father, William J. Gormley, to lung cancer in 2017 at age 53. He had responded to Sept. 11 as a New York City firefighter, helping in recovery efforts at ground zero for weeks.
Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

A week after nearly 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was created to benefit children of the victims.

It became the largest scholarship for children whose parents had died or had been permanently disabled from the attacks. With former President Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, the former senator, serving as co-founders, the fund raised more than $100 million. To date, the fund has amassed roughly $180 million for roughly 3,800 students, its officials said.

But over the years, another wave of victims has emerged: emergency workers who were stricken with 9/11-related illnesses from being exposed to toxins near ground zero in the aftermath of the attacks.

“Tragically, the number of children who lost parents because of 9/11 continues to grow as more and more first-responders lose their lives due to illnesses caused by breathing toxic air during the rescue efforts,” Mr. Clinton said in recorded remarks.

Now the fund is being expanded to assist their children, with the launch last week of a campaign to raise an extra $25 million in academic assistance, largely for students whose parents have died because of exposures during recovery efforts.

Large donors include the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and Medal Dash, which raised $115,000 from a run with more than 8,000 participants, fund officials said.

It took Paulie Veneto 19 days to arrive at ground zero today. He pushed a flight attendant cart from Boston to raise awareness for the flight crews that died on 9/11. He calls them “the first first responders.” “Once the towers came down, everyone forgot them,” he said.

The president has just made a stop at the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department.

Alison Malachowski visited her son’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

On Saturday morning, Alison Malachowski sat in the grass before a headstone at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. She poured two shots of bourbon, one for herself and one for her son, Marine Staff Sgt. James Malachowski, and she began to cry.

Sergeant Malachowski died during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

The 9/11 attacks had changed many young people’s lives, she said, and her son wanted to protect his country. So in 2003, he joined the Marines, who sent him to Iraq, then Afghanistan.

Ms. Malachowski, 65, said she was scared at first, but also proud of her son.

She showed a photo of her son in Afghanistan, standing with children. Everyone was smiling. It was taken not long before her son’s death, from an explosive device. “Everybody came back from the explosion, but why didn’t my Jimmy?” she asked.

She said that many parents had experienced terrible pain, and questioned the need for so much loss.

Then Ms. Malachowski pulled out small American flags and placed them near other graves — the graves of the children of other families she has met over the years.

In an adjacent section of the cemetery, Vanessa Calderon, 30, was thinking of her father, Army Sgt. First Class José Orlando Calderon Olmedo, who worked at the Pentagon.

On Sept. 11, 2001, he was scheduled to be off duty, but he told his family he was going in to cover for a colleague.

“I answered that if he doesn’t go to work, I won’t go to school,” said Ms. Calderon. The negotiating did not work. Sergeant Calderon Olmedo hugged her, kissed her forehead, told her to “Be somebody in life,” and added that he loved her. “I told him, ‘I love you, too,’ and then I went back to sleep,” Ms. Calderon recalled.

Now she and her brother are both studying criminal justice. “I want to be a police officer at the Pentagon,” she said.



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