The ceremonies come on the heels of the anniversary of the disorderly troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government. It also comes nearly two months after the United States killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaeda and architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in a CIA drone strike in Kabul.
“Terror struck us on that bright blue morning,” he told a crowd of families of 9/11 victims and first responders who were at the Pentagon on the day of the attack on Sunday. “The air filled with smoke, then came the sirens and the stories.”
“American history itself changed that day,” he continued. But “what we won’t change, what we can’t change, never will, is the character of this nation.”
The first lady is at Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and participated in the wreath laying ceremony with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to remember the passengers and crew who brought down the hijacked plane heading for the US Capitol.
In New York, Harris and Emhoff attend a memorial service at the National September 11 Memorial.
Among the continuing legacies of the terrorist attacks is what to do with the five Guantánamo Bay prisoners charged in the long-delayed 9/11 trial. In comments to reporters in Delaware before leaving for Sunday’s ceremony, Biden said there is a “plan” to address this issue.