NEW YORK -- Sept. 11 victims' loved ones will gather at ground zero to commemorate the attacks' anniversary with the reading of names, moments of silence, serene music that have become tradition and the Tri-State will mark the day with several of its own tributes.
At a morning ceremony on the 2-year-old memorial plaza, relatives will recite the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died when hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa., as well as the 1993 trade center bombing victims' names. Beforehand, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, musician Billy Joel, firefighters and others are expected to join in a tribute motorcycle ride from a Manhattan firehouse to ground zero.
"No matter how many years pass, this time comes around each year - and it's always the same," said Karen Hinson of Seaford, N.Y., who lost her 34-year-old brother, Michael Wittenstein, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee.
"My brother was never found, so this is where he is for us," she said as she arrived for the ceremony with her family early Wednesday.
While preparations for the ceremony were underway, with police barricades blocking access to the site, life around the World Trade Center looked like any other morning, with workers rushing to their jobs and construction cranes looming over the area.
Name-reading, wreath-laying and other tributes also will be held at the Pentagon and at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville while the commemoration unfolds at ground zero, where the mayor who has helped orchestrate the observances from their start will be watching for his last time in office. And saying nothing.
Continuing a decision made last year, no politicians will speak, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Over his years as mayor and chairman of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum, Bloomberg has sometimes tangled with victims' relatives, religious leaders and other elected officials over an event steeped in symbolism and emotion. But his administration has largely succeeded at its goal of keeping the commemoration centered on the attacks' victims and their families and relatively free of political image-making.
Memorial organizers expect to take primary responsibility for the ceremony next year and say they plan to continue concentrating the event on victims' loved ones, even as the forthcoming museum creates a new, broader framework for remembering 9/11.
"As things evolve in the future, the focus on the remembrance is going to stay sacrosanct," memorial President Joe Daniels said.
Hinson said she would like the annual ceremony to be "more low-key, more private" as the years go by.
The 12th anniversary also arrives with changes coming at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, where officials gathered Tuesday to herald the start of construction on a visitor center. At the Pentagon, plans call for a morning ceremony for victims' relatives and survivors of the attacks and an afternoon observance for Pentagon workers.
Around the world, thousands of volunteers have pledged to do good deeds, honoring an anniversary that was designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009.
When Bloomberg and then-Gov. George Pataki announced the plans for the first anniversary in 2002, the mayor said the "intent is to have a day of observances that are simple and powerful."
His role hasn't always been comfortable. When the ceremony was shifted to nearby Zuccotti Park in 2007 because of rebuilding at the trade center site, some victims' relatives threatened to boycott the occasion. The lead-up to the 10th anniversary brought pressure to invite more political figures and to include clergy in the ceremony.
By next year's anniversary, Bloomberg will be out of office, and the museum is expected to be open beneath the memorial plaza.
While the memorial honors those killed, the museum is intended to present a broader picture of 9/11, including the experiences of survivors and first responders.
But the organizers expect they "will always keep the focus on the families on the anniversary," Daniels said.
That focus was clear as relatives gathered last September on the tree-laden plaza, with a smaller crowd than in some prior years.
After the throng and fervor that attended the 10th anniversary, "there was something very, very different about it," said Charles Wolf, whose wife, Katherine, was killed in the trade center's north tower. "It felt almost cemetery-ish, but not really. It felt natural."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a remembrance ceremony in Columbus.
Kasich will be joined Wednesday afternoon by various officials at the city's council chambers.
He has ordered flags be flown at half-staff and asked that all Ohioans observe a moment of silence starting at 8:46 a.m.
Many in the Tri-State will be remembering the September 11 attacks Wednesday.
Muslims for Life and the Cincinnati Fire Department have teamed up with Hoxworth Blood Center to promote blood donations to remember
the victims of the terrorist attacks.
"This date, which we all remember with solemn reverence, is an opportunity to come together as a community to remember the victims, promote peace and actively promote lifesaving," said organizer Abdul Shahid, M.D. "We can denounce terror and hatred by sharing life."
Blood donations to Hoxworth on Wednesday will be considered a part of the National Day of Remembrance and Service, said Dr. Ronald Sacher, Hoxworth Director.
"Muslims for Life and the Cincinnati Fire Department are demonstrating that it is only because people care about each other that we have a community blood supply."
Sept. 11 blood donation locations:
Hoxworth Central 3130 Highland Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45267 Noon to 7:30 p.m.
Hoxworth Downtown 432 Walnut Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Hoxworth Anderson 7715 Five Mile Road Cincinnati, OH 45230 Noon to 7:30 p.m.
Hoxworth Blue Ash 9708 Kenwood Rd, Blue Ash, OH 45242 Noon to 7:30 p.m.
Hoxworth Ft. Mitchell 2220 Grandview Drive Fort Mitchell, KY 41017 Noon to 7:30 p.m.
Xavier University 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207 10a.m. to 6 p.m.
NKY Board of Realtors 7660 Turfway Road, Florence, KY 41042 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"There was a tremendous display of unity following the tragedy, including blood donations," said Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun. "We are proud to partner with Muslims for Life and Hoxworth to rekindle that spirit of togetherness on this National Day of Remembrance and Service."
A dedication ceremony of Green Township’s Sept. 11 memorial will take place at 8:40 a.m. at the Green Township Administrative Complex.
A 9/11 wreath laying ceremony will be held at the Ohio Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Reynoldsburg, Ohio at 8:30 a.m.
Students at Kings High School will commemorate the anniversary by completing community service at 12 locations around the Tri-State.
The locations included are: Tender Mercies, Habitat For Humanity in Hamilton, The Ronald McDonald House, One-Sight at Luxxotica, Mathew 25 Ministries in Blue Ash, South Lebanon Church and Library, Shared Harvest, 4 Paws 4 Ability in Xenia, Interfaith Hospitality Network in Lebanon, Little Miami Bike Trail, First-T and Kings High School Landscape Project.
Kings High School has participated in the National Day of Service for the past four years.
At Wednesdays Reds vs. Cubs game, the anniversary will be marked by Police & Fire Appreciation Day and Patriot Day.
Many of the ceremonies will include members of local police and fire departments and the first pitch will be from Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil.
A piece of a steel beam from the World Trade Center will be on display in the Kroger Fan Zone, courtesy of the Cincinnati Fire Museum.
Players and coaches from the Reds and the Cubs will wear baseball caps decorated with the American flag, in honor of Patriot Day.
College Hill Fundamental Academy will commemorate the anniversary by singing original songs and inspirational pieces at 9 a.m.
Students will gather around the outdoor flagpole on the school’s front lawn, with sixth-graders holding flags from the 50 states.
Delta Airlines employees will spend the National Day of Service working with Habitat for Humanity.
Employees will team up with Habitat volunteers to work on the Irvin family home in Cheviot, Ohio.
"I have been involved with Delta's Habitat for Humanity initiative since it began in 2000", said Barry K. Matthews, Program Manager, Delta Air Lines, Inc. "I have seen firsthand the effect a Habitat project can have not just on the families receiving a home but also on the employees who volunteer to build them."
"During the Delta Air Lines' Habitat for Humanity projects I've witnessed that light bulb moment, time and time again, when a volunteer realizes the life changing effect they are having on both a family and a community, said Tad Hutcheson, Vice President of Community Affairs at Delta Air Lines. “Habitat gives Delta employees the opportunity to change the life paths of generations in a very tangible way. The commitment of Delta Air Lines and its employees to Habitat speaks volumes of the true heart of this great company and its desire to give back to our communities worldwide."
Employees and volunteers will begin work at the Cheviot home at 9:11 a.m.