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Remarks by President Biden at 9/11 Memorial Ceremony

Arlington, Virginia

9:49 a.m. ET

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Austin, General Milley, to all of your family and loved ones who are still mourning the loss of your soul, I am honored to once again share this solemn memorial with you here and reflect on that horrible September morning, all what was lost in fire and ashes, and all the answers we found within ourselves.

Twenty-one years ago, twenty-one years ago, we were still keeping our promise: never forget. We will remember all the precious lives stolen from Ground Zero in New York – ours: 2,977; in Shanksville, where my wife speaks now – in Pennsylvania; 184 at the Pentagon.

And I know that for anyone who has lost a loved one, 21 is neither a lifetime nor a time.

Good to remember. These memories help us heal, but they can also open up wounds and take us back to when the grief was so raw.

You think of everything, of everything they could have done if they had lived a little longer: the experiences you missed together; the dreams they never realized or fulfilled.

I remember a message from Queen Elizabeth to the American people. It was September 11. His ambassador read a service prayer at St. Thomas Church in New York, where she poignantly reminded us of this, quoting: “Grief is the price we pay for love.

Sorrow is the price we pay for love. Many of us have experienced this loss, and you have all experienced it.

On this day when the price seems so high, Jill and I hold you all close to our hearts.

Terror struck us on this brilliant blue morning. There was smoke in the air, then sirens and stories – stories of those we lost, stories of incredible heroism of that terrible day.

American History – American history itself changed that day. But the changes that we have made – what we won’t change, what we can’t change, what will never change, are the character of this country that the terrorists think they can harm.

What is this role? Character of sacrifice and love, generosity and grace, strength and resilience.

In the crucible of 9/11, and in the days and months that followed, we saw what America was made of – what Americans were made of. Think of all your loved ones, especially those on that flight – the ordinary citizens who said “we won’t let this happen” and risked their lives to prevent further deaths.

We’ve seen it in police and firefighters who have stood for months on zero stakes amid twisted rebar and broken concrete slabs, breathing in toxins and ash that would damage their health, refusing – refusing to stop searching during destruction. They never stopped and never will.

As I said, we learned of the extraordinary courage and determination of the passengers of Flight 93 who understood that they were living in an open environment – they were in the midst of public images of a new war and they chose to fight back – unprofessional People – come on though – are fighting back, sacrificing themselves and refusing to have their planes used as weapons against more innocent people.

At the Pentagon, both the site of a terrorist attack and our command center to defend and protect the American people, many heroes were created here. Many of your loved ones are those heroes.

It began almost immediately, and as walls crumbled and roofs began to crumble, civilians and service personnel moved quickly. They burst into the space between the fourth and fifth corridors.

The impact of the fire was twice the height of the building. I remember. I am a US senator and walking towards my office I can see smoke and flames.

They are heroes. They returned to those raging flames, trying to save their teammates.

Firefighters battled the jet fuel flames which continued into the night beyond the limits of exhaustion.

Pentagon workers went to work on September 12, more determined than ever to protect their own national security.

As I said when I woke up on September 11, we’re going to follow them to the gates of hell to make sure they can’t go any further.

Millions of young men and women across the country responded to the September 11 attacks with courage and determination, pledged to defend our Constitution, and joined the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.

In the years since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places around the world to prevent terrorists from gaining safe havens.
and protect the American people.

To all of our service members and their families, our veterans, our Gold Star families, all the survivors, caregivers and loved ones who have made great sacrifices for our country: we owe you. We owe you an incredible debt – an incredible debt that will never be repaid, but which will never fail to fulfill our sacred duty to you to prepare and properly equip those whom we send into danger, and to care for them when they come They and their families – never, never, never forget.

Through all the changes that have taken place over the past 21 years, the enduring determination of the American people to defend themselves against those who seek our evil and to bring justice to those who attack our people has never wavered.

It took 10 years to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden, but we did it. This summer, I authorized a successful strike against al-Zawahiri, his 9/11 deputy and al-Qaeda leader.

Because we are not going to rest. We will never forget. We will never give up. And now Zawahiri can no longer threaten the American people.

After 20 years in Afghanistan, our commitment to preventing another attack on the United States continues.

Intelligence, defense and counterterrorism professionals in the building behind me and across government continue to be vigilant to the terrorist threat that has evolved and spread to new parts of the world.

We will continue to monitor and disrupt these terrorist activities wherever we find them, wherever they exist. We will not hesitate to do what is necessary to protect the American people.

Broke, we fixed it. Threatened, we intervene. What was attacked – the indomitable spirit – never wavered.

We have built memorials and memorials to the citizens who died on these lands, as well as at Shanksville and Ground Zero, to keep the memory alive and shining bright for decades to come.

When posterity comes here to sit in the shade of the maples which shade the monument, and grows with the years, it will find the name of the patriot. They will feel the connection that will take place on September 11, 2001 and how our country has changed forever.

I wish they could think of all those – all those heroes that were once After [made] in the hours, days and years that followed. Ordinary Americans reacted in unusual and unexpected ways.

I hope we will remember that in these dark days, we dig deep, we take care of each other and we unite.

You know, we found the light by reaching out and discovering something very rare: a real sense of national unity.

For me, this is the most important lesson of 9/11. Not that we will never again experience setbacks, but in a time of great unity, we too must face the worst impulses, fears, violence and recriminations against Muslim Americans, because in addition to being of middle- East and South Asian Americans.

That is to say, despite all our faults and our divisions, among all the pulls and pulls of what makes us human, there is a nation that cannot be fulfilled – when we unite and defend with all our heart the things that make us human There’s nothing the country can’t accomplish in the world alone: ​​our democracy.

Not only are we a nation based on principles, but we are based on a different philosophy – we are the most unique nation in the world. Everyone is equal and should be treated the same throughout their lives.

We don’t always measure up, but we never stray from it. This is what makes us strong. It’s what makes us who we are. This is what these hijackers want to destroy the most when they target our buildings and our people.

They missed. No terrorist can touch the source of American power. We have a responsibility to keep it safe on behalf of all those we lost 21 years ago and on behalf of all those who have given their souls to the cause of this country every day since then.

It’s all of our work. Every September 11, it is not enough to collect and remember those we lost over 20 years ago. Because today is not about the past, but about the future.

It is our duty, duty and duty to defend, preserve and protect our democracy which guarantees the rights and freedoms that the 9/11 terrorists sought to bury in raging fire, smoke and ash.

It takes commitment from all of us – dedication, hard work – every day.

Always remember: American democracy depends on the inner habits of “we the people.” This is our Constitution – “We the people”. The inner habit of “we the people”.

It is not enough to support democracy once a year or once in a while. It’s something we have to do every day.

So this is a day not just to remember, but a day of renewal and determination for every American, our dedication to this country, to the principles it embodies, to our democracy.

That’s to say Who [what] We owe those who remember today. This is what we owe ourselves. This is what we owe to future generations of Americans.

I have no doubt that we will. We will assume this great responsibility. Together as one America, the United States of America, we will secure our democracy. it’s us. These are the people you love and why they give so much.

Thanks. God bless you all. May God honor our lost soldiers and all that we lost here on 9/11. May God protect our army.

10:04 a.m. ET

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