The United States on Sunday celebrated the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with President Joe Biden remembering the sacrifice of Americans and New Yorkers honoring nearly 3,000 people after hijacked planes destroyed the Twin Towers.
Relatives of victims, police officers, firefighters and city leaders gathered at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, where the names of those who died were read out in an hour-long ritual, the deadliest single attack on American soil since Happens annually. ,
They rang the bells six times, including at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m. (1246 and 1303 GMT), and held moments of silence, exactly when the passenger jet struck the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center.
Biden celebrated the anniversary at the Pentagon, where al-Qaeda hijackers crashed a plane into the sprawling building that serves as the Defense Department headquarters.
In the incessant rain, the President reached out to a garland of flowers and placed his hand on her heart.
“For all the people I know who have lost someone, 21 years is a lifetime and no time at all,” Biden said in a gloomy speech outside the Pentagon.
“The American story itself changed that day,” he said. The attackers tried to injure, “What we cannot, never will change, is the character of this country.”
“The character of sacrifice and love, of generosity and grace, of strength and resilience,” he said.
Biden also recalled how hours after the attacks, Queen Elizabeth II – who died on Thursday at the age of 96 – sent a touching message to the American people.
“She clearly reminded us: ‘Grief is the price we pay for love,'” Biden said.
Al-Qaeda hijacked a total of four planes. The third collided with the Pentagon and the fourth, Flight 93, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when passengers on board the ship began a mutiny.
First Lady Jill Biden attended a ceremony there on Sunday.
– ‘Secure our democracy’ –
Vice President Kamala Harris and Mayor Eric Adams were among the dignitaries attending the New York event, where relatives hugged and cried, placed flowers at the memorial and placards with images of their lost loved ones.
John Leslie Albert’s son, after reading the names of several victims, including his father, said, “While the suffering does subside slightly over time, my father’s permanent absence is as evident as it was before.”
September 11 was marked as a foreign attack on US soil, but Biden has warned the country of facing undemocratic upheaval from within, particularly from supporters of his predecessor Donald Trump, who had fought on January 6. , entered the US Capitol on 2021 and sought to reverse the 2020 election.
On Sunday he spoke subtly on the issue, urging Americans to “secure our democracy together.”
“It is not enough to stand up for democracy once a year or at times,” he said. “It’s something we have to do every single day.”
Condolence messages came from foreign dignitaries including NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who called September 11 “one of the saddest days” for the US and the world.
“The Ukraine, which faces missile attacks every day, knows very well what terrorism is and is deeply sympathetic to the American people,” Zelensky tweeted.
New York was illuminated with a “Tribute in Light” late Saturday night, showing two blue beams, symbolizing the Twin Towers, projecting into the night sky.
In addition to those killed on September 11, thousands of first responders, construction workers and residents have fallen ill since then, many of them as a result of breathing in the toxic fumes.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)