Bells tolled across New York City, President Donald Trump spoke at the Pentagon and moments of silence were observed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and across the nation Wednesday as America commemorated the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Politics also took center stage, with Trump targeting the Taliban and a ground zero family member taking aim at comments made by a Muslim congresswoman.

In New York, the names of the almost 3,000 victims were solemnly read at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Intermittent moments of silence marked the impact times for the second ground zero plane, the moments when each tower collapsed, and the impact times for the planes that struck the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“Eighteen years have not lessened our loss,” said Mary Ann Marino after reading some of the victims’ names that included her son, firefighter Kenneth Marino.

The first moment of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. ET to mark the time when American Airlines Flight 11, en route to Los Angeles from Boston when it was hijacked, slammed  into the north face of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

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More moments of silence followed. At 9:03 a.m., for United Airlines Flight 175, also bound for Los Angeles from Boston when it crashed into the south face of the World Trade Center’s South Tower. At 9:37 a.m., for American Airlines Flight 77, scheduled to fly from Washington to Los Angeles when it hit the Pentagon.

At 10:03, for Flight 93, flying from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco when it slammed into a western Pennsylvania field. 

The World Trade Center’s South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m.; the North Tower fell 29 minutes later.

The New York ceremony was open only to family members of victims, but the event was streamed live. The memorial will open to the public later in the day.

Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother Frances Haros died in the World Trade Center, challenged a recent statement from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. that “some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access” to civil liberties. Haros wore a black T-shirt with the words “Some people did something” as he read victims’ names.

“Our constitutional freedoms were attacked, and our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian values was attacked. That’s what ‘some people’ did. Got that now?” Haros said.

In Shanksville, Vice President Mike Pence lauded heroes from United Airlines Flight 93. The Memorial Plaza is located near the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field after passengers fought with hijackers apparently intent on crashing into the U.S. Capitol. 

The memory of those who died is “carved into the hearts and memories of the American people,” Pence said. The names of the 40 passengers and crew members were read and the Bells of Remembrance were rung in their memory. A wreath was placed at the Wall of Names at the site.

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President Donald Trump led a brief remembrance on the South Lawn of the White House, joined by hundreds of guests that included 9/11 survivors and family members and current and former law enforcement personnel. He then spoke at a Pentagon ceremony, where 184 people were killed that day.

“Today the nation honors and mourns nearly 3,000 lives that were stolen from us,” Trump said. He recounted going to Ground Zero after the planes hit. And he promised the victims – and the survivors – won’t be forgotten.

“We are united with you in grief,” he said. “We offer you all that we have. Our unwavering loyalty, our undying devotion, our eternal pledge that your loved ones will never, ever be forgotten.”

Trump also took aim at the Taliban, blaming them for the cancellation of Afghanistan peace talks and claiming that U.S. forces have “hit them” harder than ever.

“And if for any reason they ever come back to our country, we will go wherever they are and use power the likes of which the U.S. has never used before,” Trump said.

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City and towns across the nation also marked the anniversary. And in Michigan, an anti-Muslim event was canceled amid condemnation from politicians and organizations.

Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church announced in a one-sentence email Monday evening that it was canceling the two-day “9/11 forgotten? Is Michigan surrendering to Islam?” event that was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The event was slated to host two speakers addressing topics such as “How the interfaith movement is sabotaging America and the church” and “How Islam is destroying America from within.”

Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY; Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press; The Associated Press

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Sights and sounds of this day in 2001, when America suffered the worst terrorist attack on its soil. (Sept. 11)
AP, AP

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