“It never goes away,” he said of grief. The woman, 90, echoed his words.
As is customary for presidential candidates on Sept. 11, Mr. Biden said he would be following tradition and suspending campaigning for the day, including pausing ads in the midst of a bitter contested election. After the memorial in New York, he traveled to Shanksville, Pa., where President Trump and his wife, Melania, were also expected to attend a memorial service.
Also planned for the day was an F-18 jet flyover, an announcement that provoked fierce backlash from city residents shaken from its echoes of a moment when planes were used as deadly weapons. The Department of Defense later canceled it after a request from City Hall, a City Hall spokesman said.
The changes to the ceremony were not without controversy. Last month, the memorial said that it would do away with its annual Tribute in Light, in which two blue beams of light are projected over the city until the dawn of Sept. 12.
The decision, which the memorial said would prevent crowds gathering, was reversed after it provoked outrage from some victims’ relatives, elected leaders and police and firefighter unions.
Still, unhappy with the changes to the ceremony, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors a firefighter who died while responding to the attack, held a simultaneous memorial just blocks away.
At that event, around 125 relatives of 9/11 victims read the names of those who died on a stage at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, just blocks away from the Sept. 11 memorial. Attendees wore masks, and those onstage stayed six feet apart.
Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, also attended that ceremony, where they read biblical passages.
“I pray these ancient words will comfort your loss and ours,” Mr. Pence said, before reading the words from Psalm 23. He then went to pay a visit to Ladder Company 10 and Engine Company 10, the fire units stationed closest to the World Trade Center.