NEW YORK -- As the sun rose over the World Trade Center on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the neighborhood around ground zero seemed more normal than in previous years, with fewer police barricades and commuters rushing out of the subway.
At the southwest corner of ground zero, a lineup of airport-style metal detectors has been set up to clear visitors entering the ceremony.
The detectors are several hundred feet from Engine 10 and Ladder 10, and the company's dozens of firefighters are preparing for the ceremony.
Engine 10 lost five members on Sept. 11, 2001.
Circling the complex were police and fire department vehicles, ambulances and metal barriers protecting the site where victim's families will gather and grieve Tuesday.
Nearly 3,000 people died on that day in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pa.
Memorials are scheduled for all three locations where family members of the victims will read their names on this 11th anniversary.
Unlike last year, politicians have been asked not to speak. The president will stay in Washington and participate in ceremonies at the White House and the Pentagon. The vice president will attend a memorial in Shanksville, where passengers fought their hijackers for control over the plane to prevent it from reaching the nation's capital.
On Monday, families had already gathered near the Pennsylvania site, along with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
"They gave their lives for all they loved," said Panetta. "They gave their lives for the families they loved and for the country they loved and there is no greater sacrifice."
In lower Manhatten, construction is resuming on the memorial museum that sat unfinished for nearly a year while a battle waged over financing.
"I'm gratified that on the eve of 9/11 that we're able to announce an agreement that I think will ensure the completion of the 9/11 museum, said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Family members are grateful to hear the museum will indeed be completed, albeit later than the original Sept. 11, 2012 planned date.
"Without a museum, this memorial doesn't teach you anything," said Edie Lutnick, whose brother died on 9/11. "It doesn't tell them anything about what happened on that day."