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Sep 6, 2011 7:23 AM by Kate Richards

Defense Secretary to visit Ground Zero

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is getting an early start on Sept. 11 commemorations by traveling to ground zero of the terrorist attacks on New York and to Shanksville, Pa., where hijacked United Flight 93 crashed in an open field, killing all 40 passengers and crew members.

The visits Tuesday kick off a series of 9/11-related events for Panetta to help mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, including 184 at the Pentagon.

In New York, Panetta will tour the National September 11 Memorial, whose two reflecting pools sit within the footprints where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood.

In Shanksville he will visit the partially completed Flight 93 Memorial.

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