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The Names Of 2,977 Victims Of The 9/11 Attacks Read At Ground Zero

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We're following the services and ceremonies to mark the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Mirroring the attacks of that day, our day began in New York City, where bagpipes, the tolling of a bell and a moment of silence mark the time when two passenger planes struck the World Trade Center towers. We're going to go now to a live reading of some of the names of the 2,977 people who perished that day.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Ready?

Khang Ngoc Nguyen.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Jody Tepedino Nichilo.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Kathleen Ann Nicosia.

SIMON: We're joined now by NPR's Jasmine Garsd, who is in New York City and at ground zero, where the towers stood 20 years ago. Jasmine, thanks for being with us. What does it feel like to be there today?

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: Well, right now it's starting to disperse a little. The mood was definitely a somber one. You know, I walked around, and there were a lot of people who - very pensive, just really deep in thought. It also, I have to say, felt like a very private ceremony - very much involving service members, law enforcement...

SIMON: Yeah.

GARSD: ...The victims' families. And I definitely got a sense that for a lot of New Yorkers that I've spoken to, there was kind of a desire to stay back, stay home, stay with friends and family and in your neighborhood and think about what happened 20 years ago.

SIMON: A lot of those families who are there today have gotten to really know each other over the past 20 years, haven't they?

GARSD: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I've been speaking to families of victims over the last couple of weeks. And I got a very distinct feeling from them of wanting to mourn and do this as privately as possible. Yeah - a desire for privacy.

SIMON: And, of course, so many people have mentioned the feeling of unity that gripped America 20 years ago in the days following the 9/11 attacks and certainly was felt very strongly there in New York City. At the same time, this year, people have to note, we seem to be living in a different time, don't we?

GARSD: Absolutely. You know, as I was coming to this this morning, you know, I was thinking, New York has been through so much anxiety and grief even just in the last year or year and a half. And I think, you know, some of the privacy, the sense of privacy that I was describing earlier comes from - you know, we're experiencing a rise in delta and in COVID cases. And there's definitely a sense of people wanting to stay home, to stay back.

SIMON: Yeah.

GARSD: At the same time, I think, you know, it is a reminder that this is a city that when it gets - you know, when it - when something like this happens, it really is able to spring into action. It's really able...

SIMON: Yeah.

GARSD: ...To bond.

SIMON: NPR's Jasmine Garsd in New York City at ground zero - and let's go back to the reading of the names.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: But he knew how to come off the train, leaving work at work and engage and connect with us. A few weeks before Sept. 11, he had a heart-to-heart talk with me about how he wanted to prioritize his health so that he could be there for my sister, brother and I throughout our milestones of marriage and children. Although he wasn't here with us, he was never missing in our hearts. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.