Biden honors 9/11 victims at Pentagon ceremony: ‘This is a day not only momentous, but a day of renewal and resolution’

“I know for all of you who have lost someone, 21 is both a lifetime and not at all,” Biden said at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va. . “It’s good to remember. These memories help us heal, but they can also open up the pain and take us back to that time when the grief was so raw.”

The President spoke of a message sent to the American people on September 11, 2001, of Queen Elizabeth II from the United Kingdom, died Thursdayrecalling that she “pointedly reminded us, quote, ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.'”
As he has in several recent speeches, Biden spoke on Sunday about securing American democracy. But he toned down his rhetoric and avoided some of the more politically charged statements he made ahead of the midterm elections.

“It’s not enough to defend democracy once a year or once in a while. It’s something we have to do every day,” the president said. “So this is a day not only memorable, but a day of renewal and resolve for every American and our dedication to this country.”

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks of September 11, which were orchestrated by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Hijacked jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Biden in his speech also highlighted the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri during a drone strike earlier this year, saying the United States “will not rest, we will never forget, we will never give up”.

“And now Zawahiri can never threaten the American people again,” the president said.

Prior to the speech, Biden participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Pentagon, pausing briefly in front of a ceremonial wreath to touch it, then placing his hand over his heart. He was joined at the event by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The White House announced earlier that attendees of the President’s remarks at the Pentagon’s National 9/11 Memorial included “family members of the dead, first responders, representatives of first responder groups, and Department of Health leaders.” Defense “.

Biden also said Sunday morning in Delaware that he had “a plan” for the families of 9/11 victims.

Responding to questions from reporters before boarding Air Force One to fly to Washington, D.C., Biden, when asked if he had a plan to care for the families of 9/11 victims who want justice after the terrorist attacks, replied: “Yes, there is a plan for that”, without giving further details.

vice president Kamala Harris, meanwhile, met family members who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks after arriving at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Harris, who attended a memorial service at Ground Zero, also met with first responders, according to a White House official.

And first lady Jill Biden delivers a speech Sunday at a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The first lady will be joined by her sister, Bonny Jacobs, her communications director Elizabeth Alexander told CNN. Jacobs is a flight attendant for United Airlines.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kate Bennett, Aaron Pellish and Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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