The Latest: Obama visits with troops for 9/11 commemorations

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NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama says he remembers sitting down on the evening of 9/11, rocking his baby daughter Sasha to sleep and sensing for the first time in his life that the U.S. homeland was vulnerable.

Obama's recollections came Friday as he spoke with service members at Fort Meade in Maryland.

Obama was a state senator in Illinois when the terror attacks occurred. He told the troops the destruction that day shows "just how precious what we have is and the need for us to defend it at any cost."

He also says he remembers and gives credit to President George W. Bush for going to the World Trade Center site and throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium after the attacks. He says he recalls thinking as he watched that people are Americans first, not Republicans or Democrats, or Texans or Californians, and that they all had to unite for the country.

4:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama is telling military service members the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks is a solemn day and he wants to use it to make sure those killed are never forgotten.

Obama met with troops at Fort Meade in Maryland on Friday and took questions through social media from those stationed overseas.

He reassured the troops that the U.S. must work to make sure that the men and women in uniform have the strategy and resources they need to succeed.

The president says the U.S. is still an indispensable force for good around the world.

Obama says the country still faces significant threats, including from the Islamic State group forces in the Middle East.


4 p.m.

Hundreds have lined the streets of Sacramento, California, for a parade to celebrate three hometown heroes who foiled a gunman's attack on a high-speed passenger train in Europe.

The event Friday also paid tribute to victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The streets were awash with American flags, and many people held signs reading "Sacramento proud."

The city honored college student Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guard Spc. Alek Skarlatos and U.S. Airman Spencer Stone. The childhood friends tackled a gunman on a French train heading from Belgium to Paris three weeks ago.

The men were carried on a float with "Sacramento Hometown Heroes" written on its side. The parade featured marching bands, classic cars, red, white and blue balloons and lots of confetti.


2:30 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden says the resolve that New Yorkers showed on 9/11 is what steeled the nation to get through the crisis.

Biden addressed hundreds of bikers and police officers taking part in a Sept. 11 memorial motorcycle ride Friday. He stood next to mangled metal and the door of a New York Police Department patrol car recovered from the 9/11 wreckage.

Biden says New York became the face of resilience for the nation. He says the 9/11 generation also created America's finest warriors. Biden says more than 4.5 million people signed up for the U.S. military after the attacks.

Biden says no words can heal the wounds. But he says New Yorkers have given hope to thousands suffering other enormous losses that maybe they can make it through.


2 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the threat of terrorism is worse today than it was 14 years ago on 9/11.

Cuomo is marking the anniversary of the terrorist attacks at a memorial motorcycle ride kickoff at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Cuomo says: "Don't kid yourself that the threat is gone. ... The threat is not over."

Cuomo says the terror threat is like a cancer that metastasizes in the body. He says terrorist groups are more virulent than ever before.

The governor is also paying tribute to families still grieving. He says 14 years is like yesterday for those who lost a family member.

Cuomo says he disagrees with the adage that time heals. He says perhaps time dulls, but it doesn't heal.


12:30 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden and singer Billy Joel have honored firefighters at a station whose ranks were decimated on 9/11.

The two joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Manhattan at Rescue Company 1, a unit of the Fire Department of New York. The White House says Rescue 1 lost nearly half its members when it responded to the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Biden greeted firefighters with hugs and handshakes in front of memorial plaques honoring their comrades who died on 9/11 and in other incidents. He praised the firefighters for their loyalty and told them to take care of themselves.

The vice president also plans to join Cuomo on Friday at the kickoff for the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride.


12:15 p.m.

The mournful playing of taps has marked the conclusion of the World Trade Center ceremony marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

There was a smattering of applause Friday when the final victim's name was read at ground zero. Then people began milling around the memorial plaza in lower Manhattan.

Linda Spinella, of Wayne, New Jersey, was there to honor her brother, Mark Zangrilli. The father of two worked for an insurance company in the south tower.

Spinella blinked back tears and said she doesn't like to think about what happened that day.

Instead, she concentrates on the the happy memories, like her brother's "goofy jokes and the way he loved his kids."


11:05 a.m.

A livery driver who helped police thwart a suspected kidnapping has received a bravery award named for a flight attendant on a hijacked plane from Boston that was flown into the World Trade Center 14 years ago.

The Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery was given Friday to Albeiro Gomez of Worcester, Massachusetts, during a Statehouse event marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Officials say Gomez unwittingly picked up the kidnapping suspect and his two captives, a woman and her 11-month-old baby. When police later surrounded the vehicle, Gomez lunged over the seat and grabbed a gun away from the suspect, helping police capture the man.

Sweeney was credited with discreetly contacting authorities and providing them with the first critical information about the actions of the hijackers.


10:50 a.m.

Secretary of State John Kerry is honoring those who died in the terror attacks 14 years ago as well as the four Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2012, at a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

Kerry says each "was a brave and dedicated professional ... deeply committed to service" on America's behalf.

He says the anniversary should be a reminder to press on with American diplomacy. He says the United States will never be intimidated by terrorists.

The 2012 attack on a U.S. post in Benghazi killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.


10:30 a.m.

A simple, life-affirming moment has punctuated the otherwise solemn World Trade Center ceremony marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

A child let go of a red balloon. Heads turned as it floated above the plaza.

But the sense of loss was still very much in evidence Friday.

Before the moment of silence marking the time that the World Trade Center's north tower fell, a woman collapsed, apparently from grief. Two relatives and a 9/11 museum staffer had to help her to her feet.


10:20 a.m.

The names of passengers and crew killed in the hijacking of United Flight 93 have been read as bells also toll in their honor on the 14th anniversary of 9/11.

Hundreds gathered for a ceremony to honor the 33 passengers and seven crew members aboard the flight brought down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Flight 93 was headed from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco on Sept. 11, 2001, when it was hijacked with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol. A passenger revolt ended with it going down in a Pennsylvania field.

Ben Mecham of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, brought his 7-year-old son, Parker.

Mecham says children should not think of it as just "another plane crash."

Parker says he "can't believe" that people were so brave.


10 a.m.

A moment of silence has been held in remembrance of the time that the World Trade Center's south tower fell.

People from all walks of life, and throughout the world, have been taking marking Friday's 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

In Jersey City, New Jersey, emergency responders are holding a blood drive along the Hudson River, across from where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the 9/11 memorial in the Boston Public Garden.


9:40 a.m.

A third moment of silence has been observed at the World Trade Center, commemorating the time that Flight 77 struck the Pentagon.

Earlier, as the day's solemn observances began, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama bowed their heads during a ceremony with staff Friday on the White House lawn.

The crowd stood silently, gazing toward the Washington Monument and the Pentagon. The silence was punctured only by the sound of planes taking off and landing at a nearby airport.

After a bugler played taps, the Obamas clasped hands and walked back into the White House.

American Airlines Flight 77 was flying from Washington to Los Angeles with 64 people aboard when it was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon 14 years ago Friday.


9:35 a.m.

People on the street near the World Trade Center have also been paying their respects to those killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

On Friday, electrician Jeff Doran stood across from the trade center site looking at the towers now under construction.

Doran says he does not go to the memorial or watch the ceremony on TV.

But every year, he makes sure to observe a moment of silence.


9:05 a.m.

A second moment of silence has been observed to mark the time the second plane struck the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Victims' relatives and others observed the moment at 9:03 a.m. Friday at ground zero.

Mini flags and flowers dot the perimeters of the site's reflecting pools, affixed lovingly next to victims' names.

The Sept. 11 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, including more than 2,700 in New York City.

United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston was headed to Los Angeles 14 years ago Friday when it was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the south tower, killing all 65 people aboard.


8:50 a.m.

Bells are tolling as New York City observes a moment of silence to observe the time the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center 14 years ago.

Families of victims of the 2001 and 1993 World Trade Center attacks began reading names Friday at ground zero.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stepped out of the White House at 8:46 a.m. to observe a moment of silence.

Nereida Valle carried a photo of her daughter, Nereida DeJesus, who was 31 and working for Aon when she died on the 98th floor of the south tower.

Says the mother at ground zero: "I feel her every day."

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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