WASHINGTON - Americans have gathered to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Solemn ceremonies have taken place near the sites of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
With music and prayers, friends and loved ones remembered those who perished when hijacked planes hit the towers of New York's World Trade Center. They gathered at the site for what has become an annual event, reading of the names of the victims.
For some readers, emotions were still raw, 12 years after the attacks.
"You were more than just my daddy. You were by best friend and I love you more than anything. You will be in my heart always," the daughter of a 9/11 victim said after reading the name of her father.
In Washington, President Barack Obama paid tribute to the victims.
After a bell tolled, the president, vice president and other dignitaries on the White House lawn bowed their heads for a moment of silence.
Later, the president took part in a ceremony at the Pentagon for family members of the more than 100 people killed when a jetliner struck the U.S. military headquarters. He told the families of victims that he admired their courage.
"In the quiet moments we have spent together, and from the stories that you have shared, I am amazed at the will that you have summoned in your lives to lift yourselves up and to carry on and to live and love and laugh again," the president said. "Even more than memorials of stone and water, your lives are the greatest tribute to those that we lost, for their legacy shines on in you."
Another observance was held in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, killing 33 passengers and seven crew.
Participants stood near a memorial honoring the victims as the names of those who perished on the flight were read.
The plane crashed as passengers attempted to regain control from hijackers, who were believed to be flying toward Washington.
Relatives of the victims joined the National Park Service Tuesday in a groundbreaking ceremony for a visitor center at the Flight 93 Memorial.
Wednesday also is the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.