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Nation to Commemorate 12th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Wednesday marks the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

It was on this day in 2001 that al Qaeda hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan as well as the Pentagon building in Washington D.C.  A fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., after passengers and crew rushed the cockpit.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day -- including all 19 hijackers -- in the deadliest terrorist strike on U.S. soil.  It led to two overseas wars and substantial lifestyle changes at home as Americans no longer took their national security for granted.

During Wednesday's ceremonies to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the attacks, no politicians will be allowed to speak at the spot in lower Manhattan where the original towers stood.  As always, the names of the dead will be read by their family members and loved ones.

Meanwhile, President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the White House staff will gather on the South Lawn to observe a moment of silence.  The president will then travel to the Pentagon Memorial to attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony.

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