Relatives of Sept. 11 victims marked the anniversary of the terror attacks Friday at ground zero with grief, gratitude and appeals to keep the toll front of mind after the passage of 14 years.

Over 1,000 people – fewer than thronged the observance in its early years – gathered for what has become a tradition of tolling bells, moments of silence and the reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror strikes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

"We come every year. The crowds get smaller, but we want to be here. As long as I'm breathing, I'll be here," said Tom Acquaviva, 81, who lost his son, Paul Acquaviva.

Carrying photos emblazoned with the names of their loved ones, victims' relatives praised first responders, thanked the armed forces and hoped for peace and security: "Pray to our God to keep America safe and give the politicians the knowledge to keep America safe," said Maria Perez, who lost her son, Anthony Perez.