WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, participating in a somber wreath-laying ceremony on the Pentagon held below a gentle rain and paying tribute to “extraordinary Americans” who gave their lives on one of many nation’s darkest days.
Sunday’s ceremony occurred a little more than a year after Biden ended the lengthy and dear conflict in Afghanistan that the U.S. and allies launched in response to the phobia assaults.
Biden famous that even after the United States left Afghanistan that his administration continues to pursue these chargeable for the 9/11 assaults. Last month, Biden introduced the U.S. had killed Ayman al-Zawahri, the al-Qaida chief who helped plot the Sept. 11 assaults, in a clandestine operation.
“We will never forget, we will never give up,” Biden mentioned. “Our commitment to preventing another attack on the United States is without end.”
The president was joined by relations of the fallen, first responders who had been on the Pentagon on the day of the assault, in addition to Defense Department management for the annual second of tribute carried out in New York City, the Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In ending the Afghanistan conflict, the Democratic president adopted by on a marketing campaign pledge to deliver dwelling U.S. troops from the country’s longest conflict. But the conflict concluded chaotically in August 2021, when the U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed, a grisly bombing killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops at Kabul’s airport, and 1000’s of determined Afghans gathered in hopes of escape earlier than the ultimate U.S. cargo planes departed over the Hindu Kush.
Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan late final month in low-key trend. He issued an announcement in honor of the 13 U.S. troops killed within the bombing on the Kabul airport and spoke by phone with U.S. veterans helping ongoing efforts to resettle within the United States Afghans who helped the conflict effort.
Biden on Sunday mentioned an “incredible debt” was owed to the U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan in addition to their households. More than 2,200 U.S. service members have been killed and greater than 20,000 have been wounded over the course of the almost 20-year conflict, according to the Pentagon.
He additionally vowed that the nation will “never fail to meet the sacred obligation to you to properly prepare and equip those that we send into harm’s way and care for those and their families when they come home — and to never, ever, ever forget.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticized Biden’s dealing with of the top of the conflict and famous that the nation has spiraled downward below renewed Taliban rule for the reason that U.S. withdrawal.
“Now, one year on from last August’s disaster, the devastating scale of the fallout from President Biden’s decision has come into sharper focus,” McConnell mentioned. “Afghanistan has become a global pariah. Its economy has shrunk by nearly a third. Half of its population is now suffering critical levels of food insecurity.”
The president additionally remembered the phrases of consolation Queen Elizabeth II, who died final week, despatched to the American individuals quickly after the 2001 assaults: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Biden mentioned these phrases stay as poignant as they did 21 years in the past however the weight of loss additionally stays heavy.
“On this day, when the price feels so great, Jill and I are holding all of you close to our hearts.” Biden mentioned.
Biden has not too long ago dialed up warnings about what he calls the “extreme ideology” of former President Donald Trump and his “MAGA Republican” adherents as a risk to American democracy. Without naming Trump, Biden once more on Sunday raised a name for Americans to safeguard democracy.
“It’s not enough to stand up for democracy once a year or every now and then,” Biden mentioned. “It’s something we have to do every single day. So this is a day not only to remember, but also is a day for renewal and resolve for each and every American in our devotion to this country, to the principles it embodies, to our democracy.”
First girl Jill Biden spoke to a crowd on the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the place she recalled the priority she had about her sister Bonny Jacobs, a United Airlines flight attendant.
She mentioned the assaults confirmed that “with courage and kindness we can be a light in that darkness.”
“It showed us that we are all connected to one another,” mentioned Biden, who was joined by her sister in Shanksville for Sunday’s commemoration. “So as we stand on this sacred and scarred earth, a record of our collective grief and a monument to the memories that live on each day, this is the legacy we much carry forward: Hope that defies hate.”
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended a commemoration ceremony on the National September eleventh Memorial in New York.