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On 15th anniversary of 9/11, ‘the grief never goes away’

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Mourners hold photos of their loved ones during the 15th anniversary of the attacks of the World Trade Center at the National September 11 Memorial on Sunday in New York.

NEW YORK >> The U.S. marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, with victims’ relatives reading their names and reflecting on a loss that still felt as immediate to them as it was indelible for the nation.

But despite a tradition of putting aside partisan politics for the day, the observance became part of the news of a combustible presidential campaign, when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton left about 90 minutes into the ground zero ceremony after feeling “overheated,” her campaign said.

Spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement that Clinton was feeling better after spending some time at her daughter’s apartment but offered no additional details, including whether Clinton required medical attention.

Republican rival Donald Trump, who was also at the ceremony for a time, didn’t immediately comment on the developments. His supporters have repeatedly questioned Clinton’s health.

The 15th anniversary arrives in a country caught up in the campaign, keenly focused on political, economic and social fissures and still fighting terrorism. But for those who lost relatives, the fraught passage of 15 years feels “like 15 seconds,” said Dorothy Esposito, who lost her son, Frankie.

Over 1,000 victims’ family members, survivors and dignitaries at ground zero under an overcast sky.

“It doesn’t get easier. The grief never goes away. You don’t move forward — it always stays with you,” Tom Acquaviva, who lost his son, Paul Acquaviva.

James Johnson was there for the first time since he last worked on the rescue and recovery efforts in early 2002, when he was a New York City police officer.

“I’ve got mixed emotions, but I’m still kind of numb,” said Johnson, now a police chief in Forest City, Pennsylvania. “I think everyone needs closure, and this is my time to have closure.”

Nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001. It was the deadliest terror attack on American soil.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Sunday news shows that the United States is safer now than it was in 2001 against another 9/11-style attack but continues to face the challenge of potential attacks by solo and homegrown violent extremists.

President Barack Obama, speaking at the Pentagon memorial service, praised America’s diversity and urged Americans not to let their enemies divide them.

“Our patchwork heritage is not a weakness — it is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” Obama said. “This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.”

Some victims’ relatives at ground zero pleaded for the nation to look past its differences.

“The things we think separate us really don’t. We’re all part of this one Earth in this vast universe,” said Granvilette Kestenbaum, who lost her astrophysicist husband, Howard Kestenbaum.

Others expressed hopes for peace or alluded to the presidential race: “Guide America’s next commander in chief and help make America safe again,” said Nicholas Haros, who lost his mother, Frances Haros.

Neither Clinton nor Trump made public remarks at the ceremony, where politicians haven’t been invited to speak since 2011. The two candidates also followed a custom of halting television ads for the day.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered for a name-reading observance at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes crashed 15 years ago.

In New York, ceremony organizers included some additional music and readings Sunday to mark the milestone year. But they kept close to what are now traditions: moments of silence and tolling bells, an apolitical atmosphere and the hourslong reading of the names of the dead.

Some speakers described how their loss had moved them to do something for others.

Ryan Van Riper said he planned to honor his slain grandmother, Barbara Shaw, by serving the country. Jerry D’Amadeo, who was 10 when he lost his father, Vincent Gerard D’Amadeo, said he worked this summer with children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 children and adults were massacred in 2012.

“Sometimes the bad things in our lives put us on the path to where we should be going — to help others as many have helped me,” he said.

Financial and other hurdles delayed the redevelopment of the Trade Center site early on, but now the 9/11 museum, three of four currently planned skyscrapers, an architecturally adventuresome transportation hub and shopping concourse and other features stand at the site. A design for a long-stalled, $250 million performing arts center was unveiled Thursday.

The crowd has thinned somewhat at the anniversary ceremony in recent years. But some victims’ family members, like Cathy Cava, have attended all 15 years.

“I will keep coming as long as I am walking and breathing,” Cava said, wearing a T-shirt with a photo of her slain sister, Grace Susca Galante.

“I believe most of her spirit, or at least some of her spirit, is here. I have to think that way.”

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  • “Hillary Clinton left about 90 minutes into the ground zero ceremony after feeling “overheated,”

    http://nypost.com/2016/09/11/hillary-clinton-has-medical-episode-at-911-ceremony/

    the office of the president of the united states is the most physically and mentally demanding position one can hold. certainly, a person who has a single serious health issue should be closely vetted before being considered for this office. even more certainly, a person who has frequent bouts of memory loss, confusion, falls, fainting spells, blood clots, seizures and persistent coughing fits should be disqualified from holding this office.

    • Time will tell who is healthier. I suspect Hillary is in better condition if for no other reason her medical report was far more credible than the Donald’s. As for her stumble, women often do that especially if they wear high heels.

      • baghdad boots: the video clear shows that the female felon was shod in granny flats today.

        if you are trying to deflect today’s physical collapse, transient ischemic attack, caused by a blood clot, is more likely the reason for today’s debacle rather than your silly high heels spin.

    • God bless all those who died on that horrible day. Years later I heard some of the Hawaiian “Studies” sovs. claiming they could cut a deal with ISIS and AQ and avoid the slaughter of 9-11. Trouble is, they are ridiculous and will be attacked first just for being irritating and embarrassing to the angry terrorists.

  • “Sometimes the bad things in our lives put us on the path to where we should be going — to help others as many have helped me,” Often a tragedy gives us true perspective on what is important in life. I remember being a kid and worrying about my brother who lived in Manhattan at the time. Luckily he was fine. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones that day.

  • this may be the one event that is remembered years from now as the tipping point for requiring third party medical physicals for all major party candidates for president.

    the office of the president of the united states is the most demanding job in the world.

    a person with just one serious medical issue should be closely vetted medically to assure the american voters that health issues won’t prevent the candidate from assuming the many critical requirements of presidency.

    a person suffering from long term prolific selective memory loss, confusion, dizziness, falls, concussion, blood clots, chronic fatigue and fainting spells should be disqualified from running for and holding the office of president of the united states.

    baghdad boots aside, a candidate’s health is a legitimate issue to determine qualification for the office of president.

    • yes lets eliminate the cause, take out all of AL-Qaeda, take out all of Isis, before they can do terrorist acts on us, and then take out Saudi Arabia who funded these hijacking terrorist who crashed the jets into the world trade center, and the Pentagon. kill them all. oh I forgot are president went to Saudi Arabia and bowed to there king, and made friends with the most worst enemy we got, who pretend to be our friends.

  • Don’t forget the Blood Bank of Hawaii and all there hard working people, and hundreds and hundreds of people turning out to give blood everyday for two week.

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