10 years after 9/11: ‘It doesn’t get any easier’

A mourner etches the name of a lost loved one yesterday at the memorial.

Yesterday’s 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks revealed a fresh wound that for some — even a decade later — never quite healed.

“It’s been hard for the family. I moved out of the country for six years because of 9/11,” said Shana Skinner.

Skinner, a New York City resident, recalled lifting the miniblinds in the window of her Manhattan apartment just in time to see the second plane crash into the South Tower. It’s a memory that is just as vivid today as it was on Sept. 12, 2001.

Her uncle, Walter Arthur McNeil, was killed that day.

It’s still too painful for McNeil’s daughter to attend the memorial service, said Skinner.

“His daughter is still going through it,” she said. “That’s why she’s not here today.”

It is not just family members of victims who continue to be profoundly moved by the memory of 9/11. Sunday’s service drew people from across the country and across the world who came to mourn the lives lost that day.

“It’s been like this for 10 years,” said Ernesto Perez of the intense emotion connected to the date of 9/11. He traveled to New York City from Placerville, Calif., to mark the anniversary.

“I just wanted to feel whatever it is we all feel in mourning,” he said.

Outside the ceremony in the public viewing area, firefighter James Brady, a New Jersey resident, was one of the first responders to the scene on 9/11. He cried openly yesterday as the names of the dead were read.

“Year to year, it doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “But it’s not about us.”

Sunday’s ceremony at the World Trade Center began just after 8:30 a.m. with a processional.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were joined by former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.

Bells tolled during moments of silence observed throughout the morning to mark each time a plane struck a tower, the Pentagon, the field in Shanksville, Pa., and when each tower fell.

The name of each victim was read aloud by family members in between performances by musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor and Paul Simon.  Thousands of people migrated in and around the World Trade Center to observe the ceremony, many of them clutching photos of loved ones who were lost, but not forgotten.


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