Changed US marks 10 years since 9/11
New York - President Barack Obama and former President George W Bush stood in silence on Sunday and a bell rang twice on the precise moment 10 years after the first hijacked jetliner struck the World Trade Centre.
Obama read Psalm 46 that reminds the faithful that God is a refuge and strength that dwells in "his city."
Former President George W Bush read a Civil War letter from President Abraham Lincoln to a mother who lost all five of her sons.
As cellist Yo Yo Ma played a mournful background, relatives of the September 11 dead began entering a transformed ground zero, the centrepiece of a day of remembrance around the US and world to mark 10 years since the worst terrorist attack on American soil.
The heart of the ceremony to consecrate the memorial began with the reading of the names of nearly 3 000 people who died in the attacks.
The anniversary revived memories of a September morning when terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed into a field in rural western Pennsylvania.
The memorial opens to the public on Monday.
It sits next to a construction project where office towers, a transportation hub and a cultural centre are taking shape. The signature skyscraper, One World Trade Centre, is rising quickly and will be the tallest in the country when completed.
The relatives - some in solemn, black suits, others in fire department T-shirts - crowded into a space in front of a podium where Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Bush and his wife, Laura, watched solemnly above the memorial. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg served as master of ceremonies.
At sunrise, an American flag fluttered over six stories of the rising 1 World Trade Centre. The sky was clear blue with scattered white clouds and a light breeze, not unlike the Tuesday morning 10 years ago.
The site was utterly changed from previous 9/11 anniversaries. Along with the names in bronze on the monument, there were two manmade waterfalls where the towers once stood. Dozens of white oak trees competed for sunlight with surrounding skyscrapers.
Remembrances around the nation and world were planned to mark a decade of longing for loved ones lost in the attack.