(WWLP) – Americans remember 9/11 with moments of silence, readings of victims’ names, volunteer work, visiting the memorial, and other tributes. A total of 21 years have come and gone since the attack, but it still feels like yesterday for many.

“9/11” is short for four coordinated terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda, an Islamist extremist group, that occurred on the morning of September 11, 2001, as said on 911memorial.org. Nineteen terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, a 16-acre complex in lower Manhattan that contained seven buildings, a large plaza, and an underground shopping mall that connected six of the buildings. A third plane also crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia that same day.

The Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City and the centerpieces of the World Trade Center. They attracted nearly 70,000 commuters and tourists daily and provided 10 million square feet of office space for 35,000 people and 430 companies. The Twin Towers collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires.

After learning about the other attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C.

The attacks killed 2,977 people from 93 nations: 2,753 people were killed in New York; 184 people were killed at the Pentagon, and 40 people were killed on Flight 93.

Sunday, victims’ relatives and dignitaries will convene today at the places where hijacked jets crashed on September 11, 2001. President Joe Biden plans to speak and lay a wreath at the pentagon, while first lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Vice president Kamala Harris and her husband are due at the world trade center in New York, but by tradition, no political figures are going to speak at the ground zero ceremony.

Western Massachusetts communities are holding their own celebrations as well today to remember the tragic events of 9/11. Some of these ceremonies include:

  • A memorial service is held at 10:00 am in Pittsfield
  • Ludlow Fire and Police Departments will conduct a ceremony at 10:00 am
  • Westfield is holding three events today, a ceremony reflection at 9:45 am, and a wreath-laying event at 11:00 a.m., then the Sons of Erin will observe the day to remember Westfield Victims.
  • A remembrance ceremony in West Springfield at 8:30 a.m. on the West Springfield Town Common at the Eternal Flame Memorial.