While memorial services were held across the United States to commemorate lives lost during the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks, in Washington D.C. there were also political rallies. Several demonstrations including one by an American Muslim group and another by a group critical of President Obama were held in Washington.
Fewer than 100 demonstrators attended what was billed as the "Million American March." They were protesting what organizers say is ongoing civil rights violations against Muslim Americans and calling for an end to military engagements overseas.
Isa Hodge of the American Muslim Political Action Committee says it's time to end policies enacted as part of the war on terror.
“It’s been 12 years, trillions[f dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives overseas, and over here, have been lost. This is the day [September 11] that began the fear mongering that has perpetuated and caused the chain of events," said Hodge.
Thousands of bikers did make it to Washington for what was supposed to be a Two Million Bikers to DC memorial procession. But the group was unable to get a permit to block traffic in the city. So smaller groups circled the Capitol area.
Biker Sam Stefanelli says they have no political agenda.
“The purpose is to remember the people: the firefighters, policemen and civilians who were killed on 9/11. We didn’t want that to be forgotten so we are going to continue to do this year after year," saidStefanelli.
Mitchell Mason, founder of Patriots For America, also led a small memorial march for the four Americans who were killed last September 11th in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. He used the occasion to criticize the Obama administration’s explanation for what happened that day and to push for further Congressional investigations.
“In a nutshell, we want the truth, whereever that truth leads to is what we’re trying to get out there. We are trying to get people more active on finding the truth," said Mason.
Despite the small turnout, both Mitchell and the Million American March organizers say it's appropriate to voice opposition on the day reserved for remembering the victims of the 2001 terror attacks.