‘We will never forget’: Biden honours 9/11 victims in sombre ceremony

U.S. President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the September 11 attacks, taking part in a somber wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon held under steady rain and expressing his condolences. pay tribute to the “extraordinary Americans” who gave their lives on one of the darkest parts of the country. day.

Sunday’s ceremony comes more than a year after Biden ended the long and costly war in Afghanistan launched by the US and its allies in response to terrorist attacks.

Biden noted that even after the United States left Afghanistan, his administration continued to pursue those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Last month, Biden announced that the US had killed Ayman al-Zawahri, the al-Qaeda leader who helped plot the 9/11 attacks, in a covert operation.

“We will never forget, we will never give up,” Biden said. “Our commitment to preventing another attack on the United States is unending.”

Biden commended first responders during a memorial service in Washington. (Andrew Harnik / The Associated Press)

The US President was joined by family members of the fallen, first responders who were at the Pentagon on the day of the attack, as well as Defense Department leadership for An annual moment of remembrance is held in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Somerset County, Pa.

“We owe you an unbelievable, unbelievable debt,” Biden said.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the attacks, including 24 Canadians, and commended first responders.

“21 years ago today, the world witnessed the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of the United States of America, our closest neighbor and ally,” Trudeau said. in a statement. “Our condolences go out to the families and friends who have lost loved ones. Our thoughts are also with all those who continue to live with the pain and trauma caused by these events. this horrible event caused.”

Afghan pressure continues

To end the war in Afghanistan, the Democratic president continues to campaign on a pledge to bring American troops home from the country’s longest-running conflict. But the war ended chaotically in August 2021, when the US-backed Afghan government collapsed, a devastating bombing killed 170 Afghans and 13 American soldiers at Kabul airport, and thousands of people died. Thousands of desperate Afghans gathered in the hope of escaping before the last American cargo planes departed. Hindu Kush.

First responders stand in the rain as the US flag is raised at the Pentagon in Washington on Sunday, at sunrise on the morning of the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Andrew Harnik / The Associated Press)

Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan late last month in lighthearted style. He released a statement honoring the 13 US soldiers killed in the Kabul airport bombing and spoke by phone with US veterans who are supporting ongoing efforts to relocate. reside in the United States. The Afghans helped the war effort.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticized Biden’s handling of ending the war and noted that the country has been going downhill under new Taliban rule since the US withdrawal.

“Now, a year on from last August’s disaster, the destructive scale of the fallout from President Biden’s decision has become more concentrated,” said the Republican from Kentucky. “Afghanistan has become a global nation. Its economy has shrunk by almost a third. Half of its population is currently suffering from severe levels of food insecurity.”

The flowers are seen on one of the benches at the Pentagon’s National 9/11 Memorial in Washington on Sunday. (Susan Walsh / The Associated Press)

Biden recently dialed a warning about what he called former president Donald Trump’s “radical ideology” and his “MAGA Republicans” followers a threat to US democracy. . Without naming Trump, Biden again on Sunday called on Americans to defend democracy.

“It’s not enough to stand up for democracy once a year or once a year,” Biden said. “It’s something we all have to do every day. So this is a day not only to remember, but also a day of renewal and determination for every American to serve this country, for the principles it embodies, for our democracy.”

First Lady Jill Biden spoke Sunday at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris and her husband attended a memorial service at the National September 11 Memorial in New York.

First responders stand in the rain after the US flag was raised at the Pentagon in Washington on Sunday. (Andrew Harnik / The Associated Press)

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