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Friday will mark the 19th anniversary of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 – the deadliest individual terrorist attack in world history and one of the most momentous global political markers in modern times.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attended a morning observation in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Flight 93, believed to be going to Washington DC, crashed, killing all 40 passengers and crew on board. Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit later on Friday.
Speaking at the somber ceremony, Trump said: “The heroes of Flight 93 are an eternal reminder that regardless of the danger, threat or opportunity, America will always stand up, stand up and fight back.”
Trump spoke of “our undying loyalty to the nearly 6 million young men and women who have enlisted in the United States’ armed forces since September 11, 2001. Since September 11, more than 7,000 military heroes have given their lives for ours Freedom to Preserve No words can express the height of her glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we shall strive every day to repay our immeasurable debts and to be worthy of her highest sacrifice. “
The remarks were noteworthy against the background of reports that Trump demeaned service members who were killed as “idiots” and losers in World War I, as well as denigrating military leaders.
Vice President Pence and Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, both attended a memorial service at the site of the World Trade Center, whose twin towers were destroyed in the attack. The two elbows nudged a greeting.
Pence read Psalm 23 from the Bible.
Earlier, Biden told reporters that he “won’t be talking about anything other than September 11th. We’ve all turned off our ads. It’s a festive day. So we’ll keep it”.
Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images
Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris attended a ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia. She said she was at the gym on the morning of September 11th when the attacks took place.
“What our attackers failed to understand was that the darkness they hope will envelop us on September 11th will instead evoke our most radiant and defined human instincts – the instincts to care for one another, to overcome our divisions and to see us as fellow citizens. ” She said. “The instinct to unite.”
Almost 3,000 people were killed when supporters of the Islamist extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and crashed them in the eastern part of the country.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City collapsed and the Pentagon in Virginia was badly damaged, resulting in thousands of deaths and countless additional long-term health and financial difficulties for victims and first responders.
Before the ceremony at Ground Zero, according to a pool report, Biden comforted an elderly woman in a wheelchair who was holding a picture of her son. She told Biden he died in his early 40s. Biden took the picture and looked at it. He was thinking about losing his own son, Beau. “It never goes away,” said Biden. She repeated his words.
The woman, 90 years old and maybe joking, told Biden she was entering her “last year”. At that point, her daughter suggested that she get rid of it. “You don’t know, Mom!” She said.
“You and I will be here next year,” Biden assured the woman, then looked at her daughter.
Pence stopped at a fire station and spoke to firefighters there, according to a pool report.
“We are honored to be here today,” said Pence, “to pay a gratitude.”
“I have to tell you that I was in Washington DC that day. I saw the sky there filled with smoke,” he said.
“Like any other American, I watched. I watched the towers burn. I watched people rightly run out and you walk in.”
You “considered the lives” of the people “in the towers more important than your own,” he said.
The events of September 11th changed the course of US foreign policy and sparked the controversial US-led war on terror – a year-long, financially costly, and ethically controversial conflict in which the United States deployed thousands of military personnel and devoted considerable resources have worked in containing the tide of extremism in the Middle East.
The recent presidential nominations have made minimizing the United States’ role in an eternal war an important issue for voters who, in the case of the younger generation, have spent most – if not all – of their lives with the nation embroiled in global armed conflict .
The two youngest presidents, Barack Obama and Trump, each filed what they consider to be a significant achievement in the fight against global terror: the 2011 assassination of Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, and the special operations in the Year 2019 Mission that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State Group.
While global terrorism has so far played a reticent role in the White House’s 2020 campaigns, the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and Americans’ lingering memories of the unprecedented attacks of 2001 continue to influence US politics at home and abroad.