‘America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back’: Donald Trump pays tribute to heroes of 9/11 as he and Melania mark 19th anniversary in Shanksville where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed and Joe Biden and Mike Pence join memorial at Ground Zero
- President Trump delivered a sobering, patriotic speech at a memorial service in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, paying tribute to those who died on September 11th attacks
- He said: ‘No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we will strive every single day to repay our immeasurable debt and prove worthy of their supreme sacrifice’
- Meanwhile, Democratic Joe Biden attended a ceremony at Ground Zero in NYC, along with Mike Pence
- A military flyover expected to take place on the 19th anniversary of 9/11 has been canceled following backlash
- City officials announced an F-18 jet was scheduled to conduct a flyover on the Hudson River on Friday
- The idea drew criticism on social media, with many calling the event ‘insensitive’ and ‘tasteless’
- This year’s September 11 memorial was altered in order to adhere to safety precautions around COVID-19
- Mourners gathered at the 9/11 museum where they listened to a pre-recorded reading of the names
- Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden attended the ceremony as well as Vice President Mike Pence
- For the first time since taking office, President Donald Trump will not be attending the Pentagon ceremony
- Both Trump and Joe Biden plan to visit Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania but at different times
President Donald Trump on Friday vowed that America will always ‘rise up’ and ‘fight back’ when under attack as he paid tribute to the 40 people who died on United Flight 93, when they brought down the plane in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as al Qaeda hijackers were flying it toward Washington.
‘The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back,’ he said.
‘The only thing that stood between the enemy and a deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women,’ the president noted.
‘Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge, is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago,’ he said.
‘In their memory, we resolve to stand united as one American nation, to defend our freedoms – to uphold our values – to love our neighbors – to cherish our country – to care for our communities – to honor our heroes – and to never forget.’
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand together during a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial, remembering those killed when hijacked Flight 93 crashed into an open field on September 11, 2001
President Donald Trump paid tribute to those who died on September 11th and members of the military who lost their lives in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks when he spoke at a memorial service in Shanksville on Friday
During his speech, Trump said: ‘Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge, is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago’
After he spoke, he and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath at the Flight 93 Memorial, which contains the names of those who died. A bag piper played ‘Amazing Grace.’
During his remarks, the president also paid tribute to the members of the military that lost their lives in the wake of the terrorists attacks.
‘More than 7,000 Military Heroes have laid down their lives since 9/11 to preserve our freedom,’ Trump said.
‘No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we will strive every single day to repay our immeasurable debt and prove worthy of their supreme sacrifice.’
Trump also offered words to the unit the country on its day of mourning.
‘We were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional country, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath. It was a unity based on love for our families, care for our neighbors, loyalty to our fellow citizens, pride in our flag, gratitude for our police and first responders, faith in God – and a refusal to bend our will to the depraved forces of violence, intimidation, oppression and evil,’ he said.
‘When terrorists raced to destroy the seat of our democracy, the 40 of flight 93 did the most American of things, they took a vote and then they acted,’ Trump added.
Trump’s visit kicked off a day of memorial services expected to take place at the sites of the attacks in Pennsylvania, New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, as well as across the country.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to visit the Shanksville memorial later in the afternoon, after attending the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at Ground Zero in New York, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
The president and first lady Melania Trump also observed a moment of silence aboard Air Force One at 8.46am, marking the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center 19 years ago.
It was a different display in Lower Manhattan at the Ground Zero ceremony, where public officials were not part of the program. Biden nonetheless consoled family members in the audience.
Socially-distant: Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden and wife Jill, stood alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo during a pre-recorded reading of the names ceremony on Friday
Biden’s visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at Ground Zero in New York, overlapped with that of Vice President Mike Pence. The former VP was seen greeting Pence with an elbow bump
Mourners pause at the north reflecting pool as flowers are placed in the names of the dead at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on Friday
While Trump and Biden’s visit will not overlap, Pence and Biden’s did. In a rare moment of detente, Biden was seen approaching Pence after arriving at the ceremony and tapping him on the shoulder to say hello.
Wearing masks, the current and former vice president then shared an elbow bump – the popular COVID-era handshake replacement – as did Biden and second lady Karen Pence.
Although the candidates and country will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their visits to Shanksville is hard to ignore, with Pennsylvania being a crucial battleground state.
Biden however, insisted that he would steer clear of politics on a national day of mourning.
‘I’m not gonna make any news today. I’m not gonna talk about anything other than 9/11,’ he told reporters. ‘We took all our advertising down, it’s a solemn day, and that’s how we’re going to keep it, OK?’
Victims’ relatives gathered for split-screen remembrances, one at the September 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner, set up by a separate organization.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation objected to the memorial’s decision to forgo a longstanding tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.
Memorial leaders said they made the change as a coronavirus-safety precaution on the 19th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
At the September 11 Memorial and Museum, mourners stood silently as they listened to a pre-recorded reading of the names – a plan that organizers felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.
But some felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact.
A mourner brushes water over the inscribed names of the deceased with his fingers during the memorial service
Lorna O’Hara holds a poster of her cousin, Brian Bilcher, a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001, during the attacks at the World Trade Center, before a ceremony organized by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation arranged its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there was no reason that people couldn’t recite names while keeping a safe distance. Reverence for the dead ‘requires that we read these names out loud, in person, every year,’ said foundation chair Frank Siller, whose brother Stephen was a firefighter.
The readers stood at podiums that were wiped down between each person.
Biden offered condolences to a woman he spotted crying in the crowd of hundreds, Amanda Barreto, who lost her aunt and godmother in the attacks.
Barreto, 27, said Biden ‘wanted to let me know to keep the faith’ and ‘wanted me to say strong,’ telling her he understood what it meant to lose a loved one. His first wife and their daughter died in a 1972 car crash, and his son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
Biden didn’t speak at the ceremony, which has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to make remarks.
Pence went on to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation ceremony, where he read the Bible’s 23rd Psalm, and his wife, Karen, read a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
‘For the families of the lost and friends they left behind, I pray these ancient words will comfort your heart and others,’ said the vice president, drawing applause from the crowd of hundreds.
In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.
Still, families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon in Washington and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001 – shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.
Pence and his wife, Karen, read Bible passages after visiting the National September 11 Memorial on Friday
People bow their heads during the 9/11 memorial service at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum during the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks
Around the country, some communities canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others went ahead, sometimes with modifications.
The Pentagon’s observance was so restricted that not even victims families could attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.
Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions from home.
Planned 9/11 military flyover at 2,500ft over Hudson River is CANCELED following sparks outrage among New Yorkers who called it ‘tasteless’ and ‘insensitive’
A military flyover scheduled to take place on the Hudson River on the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks was canceled last minute following backlash from critics who slammed the idea as ‘tasteless’ and ‘insensitive.’
The New York City Emergency Management system on Thursday announced an F-18 jet was expected to conduct a flyover near the Verrazzano Bridge at 3.30pm on Friday as part of several 9/11 tributes held across the city.
The aircraft was due to fly over the river at an altitude of about 2,500 feet, according to a statement posted on Twitter.
The announcement of the display however, quickly drew criticism on social media with many slamming the event as ill-conceived.
Critics said the idea to have a low-flying jet over Manhattan on the day the nation will pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people was ‘insensitive’ to the family of victims.
‘Granted, I no longer live in NY, but this seems like a really bad idea, verging on completely tasteless,’ Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s VP of global communications, tweeted in response.
Staten Island Rep. Max Rose also replied to the tweet saying: ‘Are you out of your mind? Cancel this immediately.’
Several users echoed his sentiments, with one woman adding: ‘Why in the world would anyone decide to have a fly over in NYC on September 11th? This is not a tribute, it is extremely insensitive especially to the families of those who were murdered in the Twin Towers that awful and horrific day.’
In a statement to DailyMail.com, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office said Mayor Bill de Blasio was not informed about the plans for the flyover.
‘The mayor wasn’t aware of the flyover, and frankly it’s inappropriate. He looks forward to thanking our heroes and honoring those we’ve lost at the ceremony this morning,’ the spokesperson said.
The office later confirmed in a follow up statement that the event had been scrapped after the city formally asked the Department of Defense not to proceed with the flyover.
Earlier on Friday, President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, were both traveling to rural Pennsylvania for the memorial service.
Mourners gathered at Ground Zero Friday morning to remember those who were killed in the terror attacks 19 years ago
9/11 lights shone out across America despite coronavirus restrictions which almost caused this years commemorations to be cancelled
Light tributes to September 11 victims shone across America overnight on Thursday as commemorations began on eve of the 19th anniversary of the terror attacks.
Tributes paid to those who lost their lives have been altered this year, with restrictions in place due to Covid-19.
In New York, the annual ‘Tribute in Light’ was almost canceled after the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said there was a virus risk to the installation crew.
In Washington, a tower of blue light shone over the Pentagon one of many changes to the annual remembrance, which has been scaled back this year.
NEW YORK CITY: Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on
NEW YORK CITY: The 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual ‘Tribute in Light’ will also go ahead after the memorial announced last month it was nixing the twin blue beams
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation illuminated its ‘Towers of Light’ tribute next to the Pentagon on Wednesday, and it will remain lit until the early hours of Saturday 12.
This is to honor the lives lost in Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon after being hijacked, killing all 64 passengers and 6 crew on board, and 125 people in the building.
Military leaders will conduct the Pentagon’s ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording.
Although they won’t be read on-site, victims’ relatives can visit the Pentagon’s memorial in small groups later Friday.
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both plan to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania on Friday, though not at the same time.
Trump is speaking at a morning ceremony, with Biden paying respects in the afternoon.
It will also be the first time since taking office that neither President Donald Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence will be at the Pentagon ceremony.
Pence plans to participate in remembrance ceremonies in New York City, first visiting Ground Zero before attending the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation event.
Biden will also attend the main New York memorial before heading to Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON D.C.: Tributes paid to those who lost their lives have been altered this year, with restrictions in place due to Covid-19
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Many events will take place online and not in front of crowds, like the large flag unfurling at the Pentagon
WASHINGTON, DC: Military leaders will conduct the Pentagon’s ceremony without victims’ families in attendance, and their loved ones’ names will be recited by a recording
In New York, the double beams of light that evoke the fallen twin towers were nearly canceled in the name of virus safety, until an uproar restored the tribute.
The Fire Department cited the virus in urging members to skip observances of the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, among them almost 350 firefighters.
Some victims’ relatives say they understand the ground zero observance had to change in a year when so much else has.
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum canceled its tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead aloud.
It will offer a recording instead to those gathered at the World Trade Center site.
‘It’s another smack in the face,’ says Jim Riches, who lost his son Jimmy, a firefighter.
The father is staying home on the anniversary for the first time this year because he doesn’t want to take chances with the coronavirus after a prior illness.
But he feels others should have the option of reciting the names of the dead on the memorial plaza, instead of listening to a recording.
Some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact.
A different 9/11 group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up a simultaneous ceremony in response to this in New York.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual ‘Tribute in Light’ will also go ahead after it was announced last month the twin blue beams that shine into the night sky over lower Manhattan were to be canceled.
While there’s no official gathering to view the lights, the memorial cited virus risks to the installation crew.
The cancellation outraged some victims’ relatives, police and fire unions and politicians, who noted that construction sites around the city were deemed safe to reopen months ago.
After the Tunnel to Towers foundation said it would organize the display on its own, Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on.
This comes after a federal judge directed the Saudi Arabian government to make officials available for depositions about their knowledge of the terror attack, which killed almost 3,000 Americans, on the eve of the anniversary.
This includes as many as 24 current and former officials such as Prince Bandar, the former ambassador to the United States, according to Yahoo! News.
The order has been praised by families of the 9/11 victims as a milestone in their years-long effort to prove that some Saudi officials were either complicit in the attacks or had knowledge of the hijackers plans months before.
However the effect of the ruling may depend on the willingness of the Saudi government to make its citizens available for testimony as some figures no longer hold positions and therefore cannot be compelled to testify.
The question of possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks by Saudi officials has been a subject of intense debate for years but it is something the Saudis have consistently denied.
Lawyers for the victim’s families have developed a circumstantial case that two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, received financial support from individuals associated with the Saudi government.