Biden and First Lady Pay Tribute at Pennsylvania Flight 93 Site | national
STONYCREEK, Pa .– Stopping to pay respect to the National Flight 93 Memorial between visits to New York and the Pentagon, President Joe Biden walked the Wall of Names on Saturday and went to the fields to see the final resting place the 40 passengers and crew who fought back against the hijackers two decades ago and forced the plane to crash.
Biden arrived shortly before 12:30 p.m. and, with First Lady Jill Biden by his side, slowly strolled through Memorial Plaza, at one point putting his arm around Gordon Felt, whose brother died on Flight 93.
The president’s visit marks the end of private hearings at the memorial on Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The morning ceremony included remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris and former President George W. Bush.
Speaking to hundreds of family and friends of the 40 passengers and crew, Bush said we learned on September 11 that Americans are vulnerable but not fragile, and that they “have a core of strength that survives the worst life can bring ”.
“Twenty years ago, terrorists randomly picked a group of Americans on a routine robbery as collateral damage in a spectacular act of terror,” Bush said. “The 33 passengers and seven crew members of Flight 93 could have been any group of citizens chosen by fate. In a sense, they have all replaced us.
Bush said that in the aftermath of America’s darkest day, when nativism could have sparked violence against people seen as outsiders, Americans are welcoming refugees. At a time when bigotry could have “flowed freely,” Americans rejected prejudice and embraced Muslims, he said. This is the country he knows, he said – the “truest version of ourselves”.
Bush said the actions of an enemy revealed “the spirit of the people.”
“Here the intended target has become the instruments of rescue,” Bush said of Flight 93, “and many who are now alive owe a vast unconscious debt to the challenge displayed in the sky above this field. . “
It was Bush’s first major public speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
In a speech centered on America’s future and its adherence to the ideals for which the 40 passengers and crew fought for, Harris said in the face of uncertainty, “We will all have to move forward to work together “as a nation to face challenges.
“If we do the hard work of working together as Americans, if we stand united in our goals, we’ll be ready for whatever comes next,” Harris said. “The 40 passengers and crew on Flight 93 – as we all know – didn’t know each other. Most of them did not know each other. They were different people from different places.
“They were on this particular flight for different reasons. But they didn’t focus on what can keep us apart. No. They focused on what we all share – the humanity we all share.
In remarks, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf praised the “extraordinary acts of bravery and compassion committed by ordinary people” 20 years ago when passengers and crew fought back against the pirates of the air and forced the plane here in the fields.
Wolf, speaking to Bush and Harris, said the story of Flight 93 should serve as a reminder of what it means to be an American.
“In times of conflict, we Americans unite. We comfort each other. We protect each other. And we stand up for each other, ”Wolf said, adding that on the darkest day, the 40 passengers and crew“ brought light into this darkness ”.
The sprawling landscape of the memorial now serves as the backdrop for hundreds of family members who honor loved ones who sacrificed their lives two decades ago to thwart another terrorist attack on September 11.
The annual celebration ceremony – intended to honor the 40 passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 who banded together to fight the hijackers – began at 9.45 a.m. at Memorial Plaza. The event is closed to the public but open to families of the victims of Flight 93, guests and dignitaries.
The ceremony began with welcoming remarks from Memorial Superintendent Stephen Clark and a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the United States Marine Band. Then, after an invocation and a moment of remembrance, the architect of the U.S. Capitol on September 11 read the names of the 40 as two first responders rang the bells of remembrance. It started at 10:03 a.m., exactly when Flight 93 crashed in 2001.
“As they boarded their plane in Newark 20 years ago today, these 40 people never imagined the challenge they were about to face,” Clark told the crowd. “In an instant, their journey to San Francisco became a test of their strength and courage. The passengers and crew of Flight 93 passed this test like heroes and literally changed the course of history.
Kevin Huszek and Christian Boyd, two members of a Somerset ambulance team who were the first to attend on 9/11, rang the bells one by one as the names were read. Alan Hantman, the architect of the U.S. Capitol on 9/11, helped read the names, who recently told the Los Angeles Times that he was not sure people could imagine “what could have been happen if these heroes hadn’t done what they’re doing. “
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