US President Biden commemorates 9/11 anniversary, calls for unity - GulfToday

US President Biden commemorates 9/11 anniversary, calls for unity


US President Joe Biden remembers the 9/11 victims at the White House in Washington. AFP

Gulf Today Report

President Joe Biden is making an appeal for the nation to reclaim the spirit of cooperation that sprung up in the days following the 9/11 terror attacks as he commemorates those who died 20 years ago in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States on Saturday.

Biden was a senator when hijackers comandeered four planes and exacted the nation's worst terror attack in 2001, now he marks the 9/11 anniversary for the first time as commander in chief.

Biden will begin the day in New York, by visiting each of the sites where hijacked planes crashed in 2001, seeking to honour the victims of the devastating assault.

A hijacked commercial plane crashes into the World Trade Centre in New York. File/AFP

The president planned to pay his respects at the trio of sites where the planes crashed, but he was leaving the speech-making to others.

Then he will travel to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Flight 93 crashed into a field after passengers overtook the hijackers and prevented another target from being hit.

Instead, the White House released a taped address late Friday in which Biden spoke of the "true sense of national unity” that emerged after the attacks, seen in "heroism everywhere - in places expected and unexpected.”

"To me that’s the central lesson of September 11,” he said. "Unity is our greatest strength.”

Smoke billows into the sky after the first of the two towers of the World Trade Center collapses. File/AFP

Biden arrived in New York on Friday night as the skyline was illuminated by the "Tribute in Light,” hauntingly marking where the towers once stood. His first stop on Saturday was to be the National September 11 Memorial, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center were toppled as a horrified world watched on television.

The president noted the heroism that was seen in the days following the attacks.

"We also saw something all too rare: a true sense of national unity," Biden said.

Biden, a Democrat, pledged to build up such unity after he came into office earlier this year, but the country remains deeply divided politically.

US presidents often travel to one of the three attack sites on the 9/11 anniversary but it is unusual to go to all three of them on the same day.


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