Law enforcement officers gather at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to mark the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in Washington D.C., the United States, on Sept. 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Yang Chenglin)
Marking the 16th anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks nationwide on Monday, Americans still feel the pain, with a majority of them worrying that a major terrorist attack could happen soon.
STILL A SAD DAY
"It's still a sad day in America... and it did change the whole country," Judy Blake, a lady in her 60s, told Xinhua when watching an annual ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in downtown Washington D.C. on Monday morning.
Following brief remarks, the names of officers killed on the day 16 years ago were read aloud with a wreath laid in their honor at the Judiciary Square.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when four hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon near Washington D.C. and a field near Shanksville in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
While the country struggles with the deaths and damage caused by two hurricanes, tens of thousands of Americans have been commemorating the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks since the weekend.
On Monday morning in the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump marked the moment when the first plane struck the World Trade Center 16 years ago.
"The living, breathing soul of America wept with grief for every life taken on that day," the president said later at a 9/11 observance at the Pentagon, joined by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Also on Monday, thousands of 9/11 victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and others gathered at Ground Zero in New York to remember the deadliest terror attacks on U.S. soil.
The reading of the victims' names was also held at Shanksville, honoring the 33 passengers and seven crew members abroad Flight 93 which crashed during part of the 9/11 terror attacks.
"Lots of memories come back to people today... It's just a sort of a sad day. I remember exactly where I was. I remember exactly watching on television as the towers collapsed... It was just a very confusing day, and very tragic," Richard Graham told Xinhua when passing by the Judiciary Square.
"In some ways we have over-reacted to the situation; we have become too easily frightened," Graham said, citing the two prolonged wars the United States launched in Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
"I think that we need to assure our safety, but now we have become so obsessed with that, that we really make each other uncomfortable. We make our neighbors uncomfortable and we do things which don't make much sense because we are afraid," he said, adding that the United State needs to be more aware of what people around the world think about the country.
WHEN AMERICA IS UNITED
When America is united, Trump said at the Pentagon 9/11 observance, "no force on earth can break us apart."
Well, is this country united now, or when it will be?
"I think it was more cohesive after 9/11. But we still have such a split in the United States... We have divided again," said Blake, the lady in her 60s.
Such rifts are weakening the United States, she told Xinhua, worrying that major terror attacks will come back "because we can't learn from what has happened."
The Democrats and Republicans are still arguing about the same things they had argued about before the 9/11 attacks, like taxes and healthcare for the poor, Graham noted.
"I don't think that America has changed much politically since 9/11," he said.
Before the deadliest terror attacks in 2001, the U.S. partisan conflicts had been fierce. Republican candidate George W. Bush prevailed in the 2000 presidential elections with a vote recount in Florida. But like Trump, he didn't win the popular vote.
However, there's a rare bipartisan consensus about the question whether a major terror attack will happen soon in America, according to the latest Fox News poll released on the eve of the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
According to the poll, 72 percent Democrats, 71 percent Republicans and 69 percent independents think a major attack is likely soon.
The poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide on Aug. 27-29, with a margin of error of three percentage points.