WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden marked the twenty first anniversary of the Sept. 11 assaults, participating in a somber wreath-laying ceremony on the Pentagon held underneath a gradual rain and paying tribute to “extraordinary Individuals” who gave their lives on one of many nation’s darkest days.
Sunday’s ceremony occurred just a little greater than a yr after Biden ended the lengthy and dear struggle in Afghanistan that the U.S. and allies launched in response to the phobia assaults.
Biden famous that even after the US left Afghanistan that his administration continues to pursue these liable for the 9/11 assaults. Final 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’ll always remember, we’ll by no means hand over,” Biden mentioned. “Our dedication to stopping one other assault on the US is with out finish.”
The president was joined by members of the family of the fallen, first responders who had been on the Pentagon on the day of the assault, in addition to Protection Division management for the annual second of tribute carried out in New York Metropolis, the Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In ending the Afghanistan struggle, the Democratic president adopted by means of on a marketing campaign pledge to deliver dwelling U.S. troops from the nation’s longest battle. However the struggle concluded chaotically in August 2021, when the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities collapsed, a grisly bombing killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops at Kabul’s airport, and hundreds 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 cellphone with U.S. veterans aiding ongoing efforts to resettle in the US Afghans who helped the struggle effort.
Biden on Sunday mentioned an “unbelievable debt” was owed to the U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan in addition to their households. Greater 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 struggle, in line with the Pentagon.
He additionally vowed that the nation will “by no means fail to fulfill the sacred obligation to you to correctly put together and equip those who we ship into hurt’s method and take care of these and their households after they come dwelling — and to by no means, ever, ever overlook.”
Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticized Biden’s dealing with of the top of the struggle and famous that the nation has spiraled downward underneath renewed Taliban rule because the U.S. withdrawal.
“Now, one yr on from final August’s catastrophe, the devastating scale of the fallout from President Biden’s determination has come into sharper focus,” McConnell mentioned. “Afghanistan has develop into a worldwide pariah. Its economic system has shrunk by almost a 3rd. Half of its inhabitants is now struggling crucial ranges of meals 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 worth 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 present day, when the worth feels so nice, Jill and I are holding all of you near our hearts.” Biden mentioned.
Biden has lately dialed up warnings about what he calls the “excessive ideology” of former President Donald Trump and his “MAGA Republican” adherents as a risk to American democracy. With out naming Trump, Biden once more on Sunday raised a name for Individuals to safeguard democracy.
“It’s not sufficient to face up for democracy yearly or from time to time,” Biden mentioned. “It’s one thing we have now to do each single day. So this can be a day not solely to recollect, but additionally is a day for renewal and resolve for each American in our devotion to this nation, to the ideas it embodies, to our democracy.”
First woman Jill Biden spoke to a crowd on the Flight 93 Nationwide Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the place she recalled the priority she had about her sister Bonny Jacobs, a United Airways flight attendant.
She mentioned the assaults confirmed that “with braveness and kindness we generally is a gentle in that darkness.”
“It confirmed us that we’re all linked to at least one one other,” mentioned Biden, who was joined by her sister in Shanksville for Sunday’s commemoration. “In order we stand on this sacred and scarred earth, a report of our collective grief and a monument to the reminiscences that reside on every day, that is the legacy we a lot carry ahead: Hope that defies hate.”
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended a commemoration ceremony on the Nationwide September eleventh Memorial in New York.