- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend ceremonies at the Pentagon, in New York City and in rural Pennsylvania to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the White House announced Tuesday.

The attacks by Islamist extremists in 2001 killed nearly 3,000 at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, at the Pentagon and at Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed after passengers fought to take back their hijacked airliner.

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney said that on Sept. 11 Mr. Obama “will pay tribute to those we lost, honor the Americans who responded on that day and who served in harm’s way over the last decade.”

“He will underscore the strength, resilience and unity of the American people,” Mr. Carney said.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said last week that former President George W. Bush will also attend what has become an annual event at the ground zero site.

This year’s 10-year commemoration will coincide with the unveiling of a memorial plaza, including reflecting pools on the footprints of the destroyed Twin Towers.

The White House also announced that on Sept. 10, Vice President Joseph R. Biden will attend the dedication of the Flight 93 national memorial in Shanksville.

Rebuilding of a skyscraper and memorial at the World Trade Center site stopped briefly this week during a labor dispute. A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the memorial remains on track to be ready for the 10th anniversary.

And the developer of an Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero said this week it may take years to determine what kind of project Muslims and non-Muslims want in that neighborhood. The proposal has raised protests from some who think it would dishonor victims of the attacks.

The White House’s announcement about Mr. Obama’s plans for 9/11 came one day after the president issued a statement commemorating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The president urged Muslims around the world to help prevent a humanitarian disaster in Somalia.

“Times like this remind us of the lesson of all great faiths, including Islam — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” Mr. Obama said. “In that spirit, I wish Muslims around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House.”

Iftar is the traditional evening meal eaten by Muslims during Ramadan to mark the end of the daylong fast.