Ceremonies to honor September 11 victims

Solemn memorial services in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Friday will mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Eight years ago, al Qaeda terrorists hijacked airplanes to crash them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — twin symbols of America’s financial and military might. Another hijacked plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania — its intended target was the White House or the Capitol. New York will honor the 2,751 people who lost their lives after American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. The commemoration will include the reading of names to honor the dead. In Washington, President Obama, the first lady and White House staff will observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn at 8:46 a.m., the moment Flight 11 hit the north tower. The president will then go to the Pentagon, where he will make remarks and participate in a wreath-laying ceremony for the 184 victims killed when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the building’s west wall.

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In Shanksville, a ceremony will be held just before 10 a.m. to remember the 40 passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, who died when the hijacked plane went down in a field there. The passengers and crew, aware of the fate of at least some of the other hijacked planes, fought the men who had taken control of their aircraft, leading to its crash. Country singer Trace Adkins will sing the national anthem. Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state, will give the keynote address. A $58 million memorial is being constructed at the 2,200-acre site and is to open on the 10th anniversary of the attack. Watch analysis on al Qaeda’s preparedness to attack

On the eighth anniversary of the attacks, the level of concern about terrorism in the United States is roughly half of what it was immediately after September 11 and is down 20 points since the five-year anniversary in 2006, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Thirty-four percent of Americans think an act of terrorism is likely in the United States over the next few weeks. More than six in 10 are confident in the Obama administration’s ability to protect the nation.