NEW YORK - Under clear blue skies, Americans marked the 11th anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks Tuesday in familiar but subdued ceremonies, and with a feeling that it’s time to move on after a decade of remembrance.Two of the hijacked jets brought down the Twin Towers of New York City’s World Trade Center, another extensively damaged the Pentagon outside Washington and a fourth crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania when passengers aboard that flight revolted against the hijackers.As in past years, thousands gathered at the site in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to read the names of nearly 3,000 victims killed in the worst terror attack in US history. But many felt that last year’s 10th anniversary was an emotional turning point for public mourning of the attacks. For the first time, elected officials weren’t speaking at the ceremony, which often allowed them a solemn turn in the spotlight, but raised questions about the public and private Sept 11.Fewer families attended the ceremonies this year, and some cities cancelled their remembrances altogether.As bagpipes played at the year-old Sept 11 memorial in New York, family clutching balloons, flowers and photos of their loved ones bowed their heads in silence at 8:46am, the moment that the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the WTC’s north tower. Bells tolled to mark the moments that planes crashed into the second tower, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, and the moments that each tower collapsed.President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observed the moment in a ceremony on the White House’s south lawn, and then laid a white floral wreath at the Pentagon, above a concrete slab that said “Sept 11, 2001 - 937 am.” He later recalled the horror of the attacks, declaring, “Our country is safer and our people are resilient.” President Obama stressed the United States is fighting al- Qaeda and not Islam. “This is never an easy day. But it is especially difficult for all of you - the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives, “ he said at the Pentagon.Obama reminded his fellow Americans of their country’s values of hope, tolerance and freedom.Obama said the United States has dealt a crippling blow to Al-Qaeda, the perpetrator of 9/11 terrorist attacks. “Most of the Americans we lost that day had never considered the possibility that a small band of terrorists halfway around the world could do us such harm. Most had never heard the name al Qaeda. And yet, it’s because of their sacrifice that we’ve come together and dealt a crippling blow to the organization that brought evil to our shores. “Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again. Our country is safer and our people are resilient.”The president also referred to the two wars, started by his predecessor George Bush in the years following 9/11 attacks.Victims’ families in New York tearfully read the names of the attack victims, often looking up to the sky to talk to their lost loved ones.Thousands had attended the ceremony in New York in previous years, including last year’s milestone 10th anniversary. A crowd of fewer than 200 swelled to about 1,000 by Tuesday morning, as family members laid roses and made paper rubbings of their loved ones’ names etched onto the Sept 11 memorial. A few hundred attended ceremonies at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the governors of New York and new Jersey and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani all attended New York’s ceremony. Biden spoke to hundreds at the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania, saying the ceremonies were a reminder that the country hasn’t forgotten them. The Obamas planned later to visit wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The US terror attacks were followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the US military death toll years ago surpassed the 9/11 victim count. At least 1,987 US troops have died in Afghanistan and 4,475 in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.AFP from Kabul adds: However, the Taliban scorned the idea that they are defeated, saying in Afghanistan that the United States faces “utter defeat in Afghanistan militarily, politically, economically and in all other facets.” The anniversary itself was muted in Afghanistan, where US and Nato troops organised only small ceremonies to commemorate the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.Soldiers sang the US national anthem and said prayers on behalf of the victims, said an AFP photographer who attended one of the commemorations.In a statement posted online ahead of the anniversary, the Taliban said the United States “is facing utter defeat in Afghanistan militarily, politically, economically and in all other facets”.The militia said the war had “no legal or ethical” basis and that Afghans had “no hand” in what happened on September 11, 2001, and that despite the billions spent on the conflict “no American is safe in any society today”.On Tuesday, a Taliban spokesman flatly denied that the militia was ready for talks.“We’ll never resort to talks or any deal that is against the interests of the Afghan people,” Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP from an undisclosed location.In its 9/11 anniversary statement, it called on Americans and their allies “to halt shedding the blood of the oppressed Afghans” and vowed to continue its armed struggle.The war in Afghanistan has steadily lost popular support in the United States.Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warned Americans not to forget the troops who are fighting and dying in Afghanistan, as he paid tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.In a visit to a memorial in southwestern Pennsylvania honouring the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 that was hijacked on September 11, 2001, Panetta said the fight against the Al-Qaeda militants behind the attacks was not over, and that soldiers were still in harm’s way.“I pray that as we remember 9/11, and the terrible things that took place on 9/11, that we will also take the time to remind ourselves of the sacrifices that have been made by those who have fought and died in order to make sure that it not happen again,” Panetta told reporters.“My concern is that too often we do not express our concern and our attention to those who are fighting and dying for this country. We’re continuing to lose good men and women in battle in Afghanistan,” he said.