On Sunday, however briefly, nations around the world came together with the United States to remember the attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 people from 90 countries.
PARIS — On Sunday, however briefly, nations around the world came together with the United States to remember the attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 people from 90 countries.
Commemorations were held from Indonesia to Israel, with many political and religious leaders expressing their commitment to democracy and the fight against terrorism.
But there was also weariness, with smaller-than-expected crowds and numerous commentaries noting the wars that came after Sept. 11 and the attacks’ more negative impacts — on civil liberties, air travel and the United States’ reputation.
There was an overnight suicide bombing involving an explosives-packed truck in Afghanistan, the arrests of terrorism suspects in Berlin and Sweden and alerts most everywhere. There was analysis about how democratic values have triumphed in the Arab Spring, which has been seen as a defeat for al-Qaida.
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But even with Osama bin Laden dead, al-Qaida or its offshoots remain active in the chaotic areas of Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and the Maghreb, and its ideology still inspires some to plan attacks against the United States and its allies.
Although NATO is at war against al-Qaida and the Taliban, the European allies have tired of the war and are pressing for negotiations with the Taliban.
In Pakistan, where opinion surveys show most people doubt that al-Qaida was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, the government ignored the anniversary, except to put an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal describing Pakistan as a victim, not a perpetrator, of terrorism.
In Germany, where the attacks were planned, there was a quiet commemoration, an interfaith service at the American Church in Berlin.
Three days after the attacks, about 200,000 people had gathered near the Brandenburg Gate, but barely 200 showed up Sunday.
“I thought there would be a few more people,” said Alan Benson, who helped organize the program and held an American flag. “First there was empathy with Americans, but as a consequence of the wars there are a lot of misgivings now.”
In Hamburg, Germany, where the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta, and several of the other plotters lived, Mayor Olaf Scholz ordered flags at half-staff on public buildings.
Britain, which lost 67 citizens on Sept. 11, held several commemorations. It has been America’s principal military partner in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade, and 559 British soldiers have died in the wars there.
In London, remembrances were led by Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron and included many relatives of the 9/11 victims. The ceremony was held at the London memorial garden for the victims in Grosvenor Square near the U.S. Embassy.
In Cairo, around 100 Islamists protested Sunday near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo against the detention of Egyptian-born Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, serving a life sentence in the first attack on the World Trade Center. Known as the “Blind Sheik,” he was the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 bombing.
World leaders made gestures of solidarity from Spain, where Prince Felipe attended a commemorative planting of 10 American oak trees; to Kyrgyzstan, where President Roza Otunbayeva spoke at a U.S. air base that offers vital support to coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Kindness was remembered along with the suffering in eastern Canada, where communities gave shelter to thousands of international air passengers stranded after the attacks forced the U.S. to shut down air travel. Gander, Newfoundland, hosted about 6,600 passengers — nearly one per resident.
“You affirmed our faith in the goodness of people. You were the best of us,” U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson said at a memorial service where Gander Mayor Claude Elliott accepted two steel beams from the trade center.
In Japan, the anniversary of the attacks was overshadowed by the six-month anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that killed some 20,000 people, but it was not forgotten.
Both tragedies were remembered in the battered northeastern city of Ishinomaki, where a damaged replica of the Statue of Liberty stood above candles lit in honor of tsunami victims.
A dozen Japanese workers were among the 23 Fuji Bank employees who never made it out of their World Trade Center office.
In Tokyo, loved ones paid their respects Sunday, laying flowers in front of a small section of Ground Zero steel before bowing their heads.
At least 35 victims were from the Dominican Republic alone, Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso said at a diplomatic event in Santo Domingo.
In an Israeli forest outside Jerusalem, where a bronze sculpture of the American flag stands in memory of the 9/11 victims, Miriam Avraham remembered her daughter Alona, who was on board United Airlines Flight 175 when the plane plowed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
“Sept. 11 is everything,” said Avraham, who wore a photograph of her smiling, 30-year-old daughter pinned to her shirt.
“My daughter was killed. My world was destroyed. For me, every day is Sept. 11.”