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Lower-Key Ceremonies For This Year's Sept. 11 Commemoration

UPDATE at 9:00 ET:

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and White House staffers observed a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn to remember the nearly 3,000 people killed in terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

After the silence, three bell tolls were struck and a bugler played taps.

Here's our earlier post:

Ceremonies to commemorate the nearly 3,000 people killed 11 years ago today in the worst-ever terrorist attacks on U.S. soil are decidedly lower key this time around.

At the National September 11 Memorial plaza in New York, a moment of silence will be observed at 8:47 a.m. ET to mark the time when the first plane struck the north tower at the World Trade Center, but The Wall Street Journal notes: "no elected official will speak. Family members will read the names of the dead, accompanied by music, on the 9/11 memorial plaza between the waterfalls now marking footprints of the two towers."

President Obama, the first lady and the White House staff will observe the moment of silence on the South Lawn. The president will later speak at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and Vice President Joe Biden will attend a ceremony in Shanksville, Pa., where hijacked Flight 93 crashed.

The Associated Press reports:

"The neighborhood around ground zero seemed more normal than in previous years, with fewer police barricades and commuters rushing out of the subway."

Last year's 10th anniversary saw the opening of the 9/11 Memorial. This year's ceremonies were to include the unveiling of the 9/11 Museum, but the project has been held up by a dispute between New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The New York Times says: "With work on the museum at a standstill for nearly a year, fundraising and donations have fallen, and exhibits are gathering dust in fabrication shops in Buffalo and Santa Fe, N.M., according to museum executives."

However, Cuomo on Monday announced that an agreement that paves the way for finishing the $700 million project "as soon as practicable," according to the AP.

Politics will take a pause. The president and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will suspend their campaign for a day.

Romney will be in Reno, Nev., where he will speak to a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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