The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump alongside, the first lady, Melania Trump, presided over his first 9/11 tragedy commemoration in office, which was is usually a yearly sober occasion.
The morning’s remembrance which was scheduled for about the same time the first plane commandeered by terrorists crashed into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Complex, New York on the morning of September 11, 2001, was a solemn one.
Americans in their hundreds observed a moment of silence at the White House on Monday in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed when the hijackers flew commercial airplanes into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Trump and his wife also paid their respects at a Pentagon ceremony led by Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford.
Mr. Trump who described the Pentagon ceremony an “extraordinary” occasion, said the country had emerged closer, stronger and more determined than ever 16 years after the attacks.
“On that day not only did the world change but we all changed, our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we face. On that hour of darkness, we came together with renewed purpose, our common bonds never felt so strong. To all those who lost their lives, we mourn them, we cherish them and we will never ever forget them,” he added.
Speaking about the American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into the military headquarters building and killed 189 people during the terrorist attacks, Mr. Trump told families of victims of the attack that the entire nation grieved with them, saying, “The horror and anguish of that dark day were sealed into our nation’s history forever.
“We can never erase your pain or bring back those you lost, we can honour their sacrifice to pledge our resolve to do whatever we can to keep our people safe. The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit, but America cannot be intimidated and those who try will join the long list of vanquished enemies who dare test our mettle,” he urged.
The US president also revealed that he lost, “hundreds of friends” in the attack and that he helped clear the rubble afterwards.
Although he did not provide the names of those he knew who perished in the attack, he mentioned knowing a Catholic priest who died while serving as a chaplain to the city’s fire department.
Mr. Trump President commended the bravery of New York police officers, firefighters and other emergency response team who rushed to the Twin Towers, in some cases knowing they probably wouldn’t make it out alive, as an example of ‘the resilience of the city where he made a name for himself.’
The memorial comes as the president contends with the death and destruction caused by two hurricanes in three weeks.
As a native of New York, Mr. Trump has a mixed history with 9/11 as he frequently uses the terrorist strikes to praise the city’s response but also makes unsubstantiated claims about what he did and saw on that day.