President Barack Obama has made his first visit to Ground Zero in New York. He laid a wreath in memory of those who were killed in the attacks in September 2001.
The ceremony comes four days after US forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. He was believed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Obama did not make a speech. Commentators believed it was a time for reflection and that the administration was sensitive to accusations that the president could be seen to be politicising his visit.
A White House spokesman said the president wanted to meet relatives of those who lost their lives to share with them, ‘this important and significant’ moment.
Earlier at Engine 54 fire station known as the ‘Pride of Manhattan’ President Obama underlined what he believed to be the significance of the killing of bin Laden: “What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of the military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home, that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say,” he stressed.
15 firefighters from Engine 54 lost their lives on 9/11, more than at any other fire station. On Friday the president will meet US Navy Seal team members who took part in the operation in Pakistan.