Guantánamo Navy base, whose detention center holds the alleged 9/11 terror plotters, marked the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, on Tuesday by lowering flags to half-staff, holding a 9.11-kilometer run and an evening chapel service.
During the second day of the 31st pretrial hearings in the September 11 mass murder case, family members of 9/11 victims quietly left the court to commemorate the times when terrorists slammed four hijacked passenger planes into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field – killing 2,974 people.
At each of the times, 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m. and 10:07 a.m., the 9/11 families made a circle and held hands to mark the moment.
The Navy base’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department organized the evening “We Will Never Forget” 9.11K memorial run and opened it to anyone on base who signed up and paid a $10 entry fee to cover a commemorative coin for those who complete it. Walkers were also welcome, and about 330 people on the base of 5,500-6,000 residents participated, including 9/11 trial defense attorneys and prosecutors, members of families who lost relatives in the attacks and soldiers assigned to the prison guarding terror suspects.
At the prison, the five men charged in the death-penalty case with plotting the worst attack on U.S. soil chose not to come to court in the morning, a prerogative generally provided them by the judge after the first day of each hearing.
Alleged plot leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an Army major testified, signed his waiver at 6:37 a.m. Ten minutes later, at sunrise, U.S. troops lowered to half-staff the huge Stars and Stripes looming over the war court compound called Camp Justice. Later in the day, alleged plot deputy Ramzi bin al Shibh showed up for the afternoon session.