Americans on Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. New York City is preparing for a day of observances.
New York police are imposing massive security for the Sunday ceremony with both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush planning to attend. On Friday, following reports of a possible terror threat, security citywide was abruptly ramped up further - with heavily armed police stationed around the city. They stopped vehicles and searched vans and trucks, but few drivers objected.
"As long as nothing happens, it was worth it," said one truck driver. "Better to be safe than sorry."
Tourists still flocked to the former Ground Zero area where the new One World Trade Center - soon to be the tallest skyscraper in the western hemisphere - is rapidly rising. Some photographed themselves next to a memorial plaque for the firemen who died on September 11. Others visited the temporary museum nearby, the Tribute WTC Visitor Center.
"After 9/11 there’s no way you can come to New York and not be here for this. Too many families were hurt," said one woman.
"I’m a firefighter, so we came to honor the 343 of our brothers," said another tourist.
At St. Paul’s Chapel a few blocks from the site, passersby tied white ribbons for remembrance on the fence.
"This is just remembering loved ones, friends, families, and you can write anything on the ribbons that you want," said one woman.
"I didn’t really know anyone personally who died in the attacks, but I had friends and classmates whose parents passed away, so I just think it’s really important for everyone to support one another as much as they did in the days following the attacks," said another woman.
Special anniversary music programs are being held inside St. Paul’s Chapel, amid displays of memorabilia relating to the first responders who received aid and care at the church in the weeks following the attacks. Many other such programs are being held at religious and community centers throughout the city over the weekend.