At 9/11 ceremony, politicians will be muted

Visitors walk around the National September 11 Memorial Visitors walk around the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. The site has had a million visitors since it opened to the public in September, officials said. The museum entrance is at right. (Dec. 29, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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Politicians will be speechless at Tuesday's three-hour, 14-minute ceremony at Ground Zero marking the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

For the first time, no politicians will make remarks at the annual event at the lower Manhattan site.

As in past years, however, the names of the 2,983 victims of the 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93, as well as victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, will be read.

The ceremony will begin at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the north tower, with a moment of silence. Moments of silence also will be observed at 9:03 a.m., when the second jet hit the south tower; 9:37 a.m., when Flight 77 hit the Pentagon; 9:59 a.m., when the south tower fell; 10:03 a.m., when Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa.; and 10:28 a.m., when the north tower fell.

Powerful lights will be trained on the heavens from two locations in lower Manhattan, as in past years, as a tribute to the lost. They will be lit at sunset and fade away at dawn on Sept. 12.

The decision to remove politicians' speeches from the ceremonies was issued by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation.

"This year, the reading of the names by family members will be the exclusive focus of the program," Joe Daniels, president of the foundation, said in a letter to Sept. 11 family members.

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is chairman of the foundation's board of directors.

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