Families set to honour 9/11 victims

New York: Families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, were on Sunday set to gather at the World Trade Center site to remember those they lost.

On this the 15th anniversary of the attacks, houses of worship across New York City will toll their bells at 8.46 a.m. as institutions observe a moment's silence to mark the instant when the first plane struck the World Trade Centre's north tower, USA Today reported.

Family members will then begin the annual ceremonial reading of the 2,977 names of those who died in New York, Arlington county, and Pennsylvania, as well as the six people killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The reading of the names will be interrupted by several periods of silence to mark pivotal moments of the 2001 attacks: 9.03 a.m., when the second plane struck the south tower; 9.37 a.m., when Flight 77 struck the Pentagon; 9.59 a.m., when the South Tower fell; 10.03 a.m., when Flight 95 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and 10.28 a.m., when the North Tower fell, USA Today reported.

Crowds for the ceremony have diminished over the years. But some families hope that this year, with a significant anniversary falling on a weekend, more people will attend.

"Parents of the deceased are getting older, younger people usually can't make it because of work obligations," USA Today quoted Tom Acquaviva of Wayne, New Jersey, as saying whose 29-year-old son, Paul, a father of two, died in the attacks. 

"But I hope this year you will see a lot more people than previous years."

Tom Meehan, who missed the ceremony last year, is determined to attend this year's event for his daughter, Colleen, who died in the North Tower at the age of 26.

"Hearing those names spoken, their memories stay alive," Meehan said.

The attacks were claimed by the Al Qaeda whose leader Osama bin Laden was later killed by US forces in a May 2011 raid at his hideout in Pakistan that President Barack Obama authorised.