The US embassy in Bern held a special ceremony on Sunday to commemorate the September 11,2001 attacks.
About 250 people, among them a mix of diplomats and Americans living in Switzerland, gathered in the garden of the embassy residence.
At exactly 2.46pm – the central European time of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York ten years ago – US Ambassador Donald Beyer called for a moment of silence.
“If nothing else, the tragic events of ten years ago have made us stronger,” Beyer told the crowd. The ceremony featured short speeches, poetry readings and a performance by American opera singer Randal Turner.
In addition, two crabapple trees were planted in the garden – one in memory of the victims and heroes of September 11, and another for the victims and heroes of the attacks in Norway this past July.
Beyer was living in the US at the time of the September 11 attacks.
“I was in a board meeting when my wife Megan called to tell me about the first plane. We both thought it was an accident at first,” Beyer told swissinfo.ch.
He added that their home was just three miles from the Pentagon, and that his wife had actually heard the plane crash into that building: “It was a very strange and frightening time.”
Beyer has served as the ambassador to Switzerland since August 2009.
Asked what it was like to be an American living in Switzerland on a day like September 11, Beyer answered, “I feel very supported.” While attending a country music festival in Gstaad on Saturday evening, he said he was touched when the audience participated in a moment of silence.
“It’s been tense lately with the Credit Suisse and IRS situation, and this was really the opposite of that.”