Flags are flying at half-mast in New York, where hijackers crashed two jet airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
U.S. President George W. Bush will attend ceremonies there that include meeting with firefighters who lost many of their comrades in the burning skyscrapers.
Ceremonies In New York, Washington, Pennsylvania
Bush paid a preliminary visit on September 10 to the empty ground on which the World Trade Center once stood.
"We spent time in there [at the 9/11 memorial], looking at some of the horrific scenes inside this fantastic place of healing," Bush said. "And it just reminded me that there is still an enemy out there that would like to inflict the same kind of damage again."
Bush is to return to New York today and also visit the two other sites where hijacked planes went down.
One is the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where hijackers slammed an airliner into one side of the U.S. military headquarters.
The other is a field in the state of Pennsylvania, where a hijacked plane crashed after passengers rebelled.
Assessing The War On Terror
Bush is to address the nation at 9 p.m. local time. He is expected to use the occasion to renew his vow to pursue the war on terrorism.
In the run-up to today’s anniversary, top U.S. officials have sought to stress successes in the war on terror amid much public debate over the administration’s record.
"I think we've done a pretty good job of securing the nation against terrorists," U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said on U.S. television on September 10. "You know, we're here on the fifth anniversary, and there has not been another attack on the United States. And that is not an accident, because we've done a hell of job here at home in terms of homeland security, in terms of the Terrorist Surveillance Program we've put in place, in terms of the financial tracking program we've put in place, and because of our detainee policy."
Leaders of the opposition Democratic Party fault Washington for failing to capture Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and for engaging in a costly war on Iraq despite the absence of a link between 9/11 and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told reporters on September 10 that "Vice President Cheney’s influence over our nation's foreign policy has made America less safe."
An apparently new video from Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri marks the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by saying that “new events” are on the way. The video also urges Muslims to increase their resistance to the United States.
Marking The Events Around The World
Worldwide, numerous current and former leaders are taking note of the anniversary.
EU European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said during a summit in Helsinki today between Asian and European leaders that there is still "a lot to do" to make the world safe.
"We have, still, a lot to do, not only in security terms, but also in political terms so that we make it clear that it is unacceptable to invoke religion for political, destructive ends and that we should, in a multilateral way, join all efforts to tackle this global threat to our community and to our values," Barroso said.
In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard called today for persevering in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
"We also gather to reaffirm our commitment, both as friends and allies of the people of the United States, but also as citizens of the world, to maintain the fight against terrorism," he said.
On September 10, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told an audience at Harvard University in the U.S. state of Massachusetts that the world’s sympathy today will be with the families of the 9/11 victims.
"I was one of the first foreign leaders to condemn this barbaric and savage act," Khatami said. "As a human, as a Muslim, and as an Iranian, I stand before you to, once again, express my deepest sympathy with the families of the victims and with all the great American people. Let us wish for a world devoid of violence and anger."
Khatami is on a private visit to the United States amid continuing tensions between Washington and Tehran over the Iran nuclear crisis.