Nineteen years later, Americans will remember the thousands of lives lost during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s plans have been a balancing act at the sites where hijacked planes piloted by al-Qaida terrorists crashed on Sept. 11, 2001: New York, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.Even though the ceremonies may look different, the families of the victims say the goal is the same: to honor those lost.“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John at the World Trade Center and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.In New York, coronavirus-safety precautions led to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner.At the Pentagon, a live virtual observance will be held for the 184 people killed there 19 years ago. At sunrise, the American Flag will be unfurled down the side of the Pentagon. Military leaders will then conduct the ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording, rather than readers on-site. Although victims’ families cannot attend, small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day. A morning ceremony is also planned at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where President Donald Trump will speak and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will visit Friday afternoon after attending the 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York. Vice President Mike Pence will also visit ground zero and an alternate ceremony a few blocks away. Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.Thousands of family members are still invited, but they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.Debra Epps has been to the ground zero ceremony every year. She said it means a lot to her to read names and add a few words in tribute to her brother Christopher, an accountant.Still, she thinks the memorial was right to forgo the live name-reading this year. The virus has her concerned enough that she’s not planning to attend.“It really is a hard decision to make, but I know that we’re still in this pandemic,” said Epps, who works in health care.“I will remember my brother, no matter what,” she said.But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.“We need to keep letting America know what happened 19 years ago. And they need to see that emotion of the day, not a recording,” says chairman Frank Siller. He says he may attend both observances to honor the brother he lost, firefighter Stephen.The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nineteen years later, Americans will remember the thousands of lives lost during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s plans have been a balancing act at the sites where hijacked planes piloted by al-Qaida terrorists crashed on Sept. 11, 2001: New York, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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Even though the ceremonies may look different, the families of the victims say the goal is the same: to honor those lost.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John at the World Trade Center and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

In New York, coronavirus-safety precautions led to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner.

At the Pentagon, a live virtual observance will be held for the 184 people killed there 19 years ago. At sunrise, the American Flag will be unfurled down the side of the Pentagon.

Military leaders will then conduct the ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording, rather than readers on-site. Although victims’ families cannot attend, small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

A morning ceremony is also planned at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where President Donald Trump will speak and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will visit Friday afternoon after attending the 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York.

Vice President Mike Pence will also visit ground zero and an alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited, but they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

Debra Epps has been to the ground zero ceremony every year. She said it means a lot to her to read names and add a few words in tribute to her brother Christopher, an accountant.

Still, she thinks the memorial was right to forgo the live name-reading this year. The virus has her concerned enough that she’s not planning to attend.

“It really is a hard decision to make, but I know that we’re still in this pandemic,” said Epps, who works in health care.

“I will remember my brother, no matter what,” she said.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

“We need to keep letting America know what happened 19 years ago. And they need to see that emotion of the day, not a recording,” says chairman Frank Siller. He says he may attend both observances to honor the brother he lost, firefighter Stephen.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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