Thursday, September 11, 2008

America remembers 9/11

A firefighter rings a bell to mark the moment America was attacked

Seven years after the events of September 11th 2001, the United States is once again remembering the nearly 3,000 killed in the country’s worst terrorist attack. Coverage on news channels is significantly less this year. Sporadic reports were broadcast this morning on all the major networks, but the saturation coverage seen in previous years has all but disappeared. The BBC started live coverage from New York at 13:40 BST [12:40 GMT / 08:40 local time] just 6 minutes before the first of four moments of silence. Sky dropped in at 13:44 with CNN only cutting into events at 13:46, the moment when 7 years ago flight AA-11 flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Memorials will take place not only at the site of the World Trade Center but also at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. As names began to be read out of the victims of 9/11, CNN cut to a commercial break. Sky News also ceased its coverage of events but the BBC continued broadcasting pictures from New York. Of the other broadcasters available in the UK, only Euronews broadcast any live coverage of events in the US. Al Jazeera, Russia Today, CCTV-9 and France 24 all continued with regular programming. As 09:03 [New York time] approached BBC was joined once again by Sky News and CNN providing coverage. The crowds gathered stood in silence to remember the moment the second plane flew into the south tower. But within minutes the BBC was left as the only news broadcaster covering events live from New York. However even the BBC cut back to regular programming after 30 minutes coverage. Viewers with interactive services were able to continue watching on Sky [BBC / CNN / 9/11].

As for the replacement buildings that were set to be constructed where the World Trade Center once stood, delays continue and the 16 acre construction site remains an empty space. The project has already run over budget and exceeds $16 billion. But Larry Silverstein, one of the developers, blames government bureaucracy for the delay in construction. There are hopes that the 5 new skyscrapers will be finished by 2011, but many remain sceptical [CNN]. There was cause for some celebration as the first memorial was unveiled at the Pentagon [CNN]. But the slow reaction to build memorials in Pennsylvania and at the site of the WTC will undoubtedly draw criticism.

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