US remembers Sept. 11 terror attacks

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Americans on Tuesday solemnly remembered the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that rocked the nation 17 years ago.

Nearly 3,000 Americans died that morning when planes hijacked by al-Qaeda slammed into the Pentagon in northern Virginia, and the World Trade Center in New York City. Passengers on a fourth plane successfully thwarted attackers before the aircraft slammed into a field in Pennsylvania.

That plane was likely headed for the White House or the Capitol building.

Bells tolled for the dead at the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan, at the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania attended a memorial service in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where a 93-foot monument titled the "Tower of Voices" was erected over the weekend for the slain passengers.

“In the field beyond this wall, and in the skies above our heads, we remember the moment when America fought back," Trump said, referring to those on board.

"We grieve together for every mother and father, sister and brother, son and daughter who was stolen from us at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and here at this Pennsylvania field. We honor their sacrifice by pledging to never flinch in the face of evil and to do whatever it takes to keep America safe," he added.

Vice President Mike Pence attended a separate memorial service at the Pentagon while thousands gathered at the World Trade Center to collectively grieve.

AT&T to build US emergency wireless network

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – AT&T was awarded a $6.5 billion contract Thursday by the federal government to build a nationwide wireless communications network for emergency workers.

The project is aimed at allowing police, fire and medical personnel to easily communicate during emergencies and was initially proposed in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

More than 15 years later, however, the initiative still struggled to get off the ground. But an order by the administration of President Donald Trump will finally build the network called FirstNet.

“Today is a landmark day for public safety across the Nation and shows the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement. “FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure. This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector.”

During the course of the 25-year contract, AT&T expects the company will spend another $40 billion to expand and maintaining FirstNet.

“We are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America’s police, firefighters and EMS [Emergencyt Medical Services] that is second to none,” AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said in an announcement. “This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority.”

FirstNet aims to solve a communications problem that becomes especially acute in emergencies as first responders use wireless telecommunications services as consumers and businesses. The lines can easily become overwhelmed during a crisis and coordination planning can be delayed by outages.

The plans for FirstNet had been pinned down before Trump took office. The project was authorized by the Commerce Department in 2012, and a Federal Communications Commission auction of wireless spectrum channels in 2015 raised $7 billion for FirstNet.

Obama hails diversity in US at Pentagon 9/11 memorial

By Kasim Ileri

WASHINGTON (AA) – President Barack Obama visited the Pentagon Sunday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford accompanied Obama at the Pentagon, where more than 180 people were killed after the attack on the building during the string of attacks on Sept. 11.

During his address at the Pentagon Memorial, the president said he had been inspired by the resilience of the victims’ families.

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the table of your heart,” he said quoting scripture.

He called the day “difficult” but one that “reveals the love and faithfulness in your hearts and in the heart of our nation”.

Obama praised the diversity that exists in the U.S. and urged Americans not to let their enemies divide them noting that terrorist groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda try to terrorize the country in the hopes to “turn us on each other”.

“We know that our diversity, our patchwork heritage is not a weakness, it still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” Obama said.

Obama also commended the U.S. military and American diplomats for their fight against al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Thanks to their extraordinary service” Obama said, “We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden”.

The U.S. military killed bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan in 2011.

Carter, in blunt terms, talked about “hammering” those who attack Americans and vowed to kneel those fighting America.

“Wherever they are, they will surely, no matter how long it takes, come to feel the righteous fist of American might,” Carter said.