At Ground Zero, Readers Offer Plain-Spoken Tributes to Those Lost

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This time, there were no presidents reading psalms, no sounds of Yo-Yo Ma’s cello echoing across the plaza, no national outpouring of decade-later reflections.

This time, the faces on the stage were almost all those of the 200 readers listing the dead, one by one, the names of cousins, brothers, mothers and husbands sounding for almost four hours over the twin reflecting pools that stand where the towers fell 11 years ago.

Other elements of the annual Sept. 11 ceremony at ground zero remained the same: a chorus of children’s voices, an honor guard carrying a battered flag salvaged from the World Trade Center, six moments of silence to mark the impact of planes crashing and buildings hitting the ground, three trumpeters closing the day’s commemoration with the haunting sound of taps. Outside the site, however, many places across the country had shrunk their anniversary ceremonies or chosen not to hold them at all....

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