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US commemorates September 11 attacks

dpadpa 11/09/2016

The names of the 9/11 victims will be read starting at 8.46am - the time the first hijacked plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Centre.

Families of victims will gather in New York City and elsewhere in the United States as the country marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

During the main memorial service on Sunday at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the names of victims will be read starting at 8.46am local time, which marks the time the first hijacked aeroplane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Centre.

Extremists on suicide missions carried out the 2001 attacks, hijacking four passenger jets and crashing them into the two World Trade Centre towers in New York and the Pentagon defence headquarters outside Washington.

Services will also be held in Washington and a memorial site just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the fourth plane crashed after its passengers apparently rose up against the hijackers and crashed it in a field, thwarting an attack on Washington.

The attacks killed 2977 people.

The 15th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil will provide a moment to reflect on what has changed since the September morning in 2001 that has shaped US domestic and foreign policy since.

Families now gather at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, located at the site of the World Trade Centre.

More than 23 million people have visited the memorial site since it opened in September 2011 and more than 4 million visitors have been to the museum, which opened in May 2014.

In the 15 years since the attack, nearly every minute, every detail, every anecdote from victims, eyewitnesses and relatives has been reconstructed in documentaries, feature films and books.

The fear of terrorism has remained vivid also as the issue has played a prominent role in the 2016 US presidential elections.

The US public's fear of such attacks has reached new highs in 2016, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre.

Currently, 40 per cent of the US public believes that the ability of terrorists to launch another major attack against the US is greater than it was at the time of the 2001 attacks, which is the largest proportion since 2002.

The shift is especially noticeable when divided along party lines - 58 per cent of Republican respondents said that terrorists' abilities to launch an attack have increased since 2001. The figure stands at 31 per cent for Democrats and 34 per cent for independent voters.

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