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New York City pauses to remember those killed in 9/11 terror attacks

Remembering 9/11, 22 years later
Remembering 9/11, 22 years later 03:33

NEW YORK -- New York City and the world are remembering 9/11 this morning in Lower Manhattan, where the Twin Towers fell. 

Ceremonies to honor our brave first responders and pay tribute to the thousands of innocent people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 were held across the country. 

At the Pentagon Monday morning, a large flag was unfurled over the side in honor of the 184 people who died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building shortly before 10 a.m. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley also laid wreaths before a moment of silence was held. 

Watch the full 9/11 memorial marking 22 years since the attacks

Full ceremony: Remembering 9/11 22 years later, Part 1 01:59:10
Full ceremony: Remembering 9/11 22 years later, Part 2 02:15:25

In Shanksville, Penn., loved ones gathered for a remembrance ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial. 

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff was in attendance. At that event, the National Parks Service spoke about the importance of teaching the events of 9/11 in schools. 

Here in New York City, high-profile guests attended the reading of the names at Ground Zero. That included Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Marorkas, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and former Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

It's a date that evokes so many difficult memories. Twenty two years later, we still reflect back, pause and honor all the lives lost on this day - almost 3,000. 

For more than two decades, the bells have sounded during the ceremony, marking moments of impact and utter devastation. There are six separate moments of silence. 

Once again, families and dignitaries gathered on this somber day of remembrance to mourn and, above all, never forget. 

"I remember every second of that day, as I think a lot of us do. The emotion, the uncertainty at the fear," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. 

For family members, the loss will always be palpable, but even in these heartbreaking remembrances there are moments of gratitude

"I would also like to thank the first responders who sacrificed themselves in order to save their fellow Americans on that fateful day, as well as service members who have given their lives in the name of freedom over the past 22 years," one reader at the ceremony said. 

As family members of first responders read names and remembered loved ones, they gave us all a small peak at what might have been. It is as sorrowful and painful to hear names read, and see families coping with their loss as it was 22 years ago, but this is now part of the fabric of our city and our country

"We don't talk about the loss that they - we talk about the lives they lived. They chose to show up to go in to the building. Their role as fathers, and husbands, and coaches, and that's what's important to remember: The way the lived their lives," Kavanagh said. 

More than two decades later, the painstaking process of identifying victims in the attacks continued. Just last week, through advancements in DNA technology, two more people were identified. 

"It all comes flying back" 

"It all comes flying back, you know, never goes away," Karen Messemer told CBS New York's John Dias. 

Messemer had plans to marry her longtime boyfriend, 34-year-old Firefighter Durrell Pearsall. But on 9/11, he bravely ran toward danger. 

"He went into Tower 2 and tried saving as many people and getting them out of the building," Messemer said. 

Pearsall is one of the almost 400 first responders who died that day. 

"They gave up so much for us, for our country, for our safety, for our security, and they do it every day without even blinking an eye," said Messemer. 

After the attacks, the city and the nation rallied around the families of the fallen first responders. Nonprofit organizations have stepped up to help out, donating tens of millions of dollars to families in mourning for more than two decades. 

"A tragedy happened, but tragically, the bills don't stop," said Lauren Profeta, executive director of Answer the Call, just one of those organizations. "We have been there each year for the last 22 years, and we will be here for the rest of our their lives."

Watch Zinnia Maldonado's report

NYC and nation pausing to remember 9/11 01:46

On this day, the city remembers with the iconic Tribute in Lights and the annual reading of the names. Nearly 3,000 names, including volunteer Firefighter Glenn Winuk, who helped to evacuate his law firm then died while trying to rescue more people in the South Tower. 

"He is somebody who lived his life and died in service to other people," said Jay Winuk, co-founder of 9/11 Day. 

Winuk's brother, Jay, wanted to carry out his legacy by starting 9/11 Day, hoping to transform the anniversary into a day of doing good and giving back by volunteering. With more than 30 million Americans now participating, it has grown into the country's largest day of service and officially recognized under federal law. 

"We really didn't know in the beginning how relevant would 9/11 be two decades forward, would people still care? But yet, it's very apparent," Winuk said. 

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