NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- A procession of New York City first responders marched through lower Manhattan on Friday in advance of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, while President Barack Obama proclaimed the upcoming days in honor of the victims.
Obama proclaimed Friday through Sunday as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance and asked Americans to "reflect on the freedom and tolerance that define this great nation."
Areas around the country are planning remembrances and tributes to the victims.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, 19 hijackers commandeered four commercial jetliners and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field outside Shanksville, Penn, killing 2,977 people.
The attacks were orchestrated by Oasma bin Laden, the founder and leader of al-Qaida.
"I ask that the people of the United States honor and remember the victims of September 11, 2001, and their loved ones through prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils, and other appropriate ceremonies and activities. I invite people around the world to participate in this commemoration," he said.
Other commemorations include the following:
- Vice President Joe Biden will pay tribute to first responders before an NFL season opener game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns in Philadelphia. It's the first time as vice president that Biden will not attend memorials at one of the 9/11 attack sites.
- The 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City will again run its "Tribute in Light" display that contains 88 search lights positioned to replicate the Twin Towers.
- A procession of first responders and members of the military will lead a 9/11 stair climb at Denver's Red Rocks Park. Thousands are expected for the observance and free tribute concert by John Fogerty and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.