Biden Touts Nation's 'Unity and Resilience' as 'Our Greatest Strength' Ahead of 9/11 Anniversary
05:42 GMT 11.09.2021 (Updated: 06:31 GMT 11.09.2021)
A plethora of commemorative events are set to take place on the twentieth anniversary of the terror attack on 11 September 2001 carried out by members of the Daesh* group that killed nearly 3,000 people when four hijacked planes were hijacked by the terrorists, with two crashing into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
US President Joe Biden
has called on the nation to never lose the sense of tremendous unity that helped it rally together in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks.
Underscoring the lessons learned from those tragic events twenty years ago that resulted in the death of 2,977 people, Biden said in a taped video message released by the White House:
“To me that’s the central lesson of September 11th. Unity is our greatest strength.”
Biden went on to honour all those emergency workers who responded to the attacks at the time, saying that “heroism everywhere — in places expected and unexpected.”
He also spoke of the "darker forces of human nature - fear and anger, resentment and violence against Muslim Americans" in the wake of the attacks, but emphasised again that “unity is the one thing that must never break."
Ahead of the plethora of commemorative events planned across the nation for Saturday, Joe Biden said: "No matter how much time has passed, these commemorations bring everything painfully back as if you just got the news a few seconds ago."
The POTUS arrived in New York on Friday night as he is set to visit the three attack sites with First Lady, Jill Biden. The National September 11 Memorial, standing in the place of the former twin towers of the World Trade Center, is the first stop of the president’s agenda. From there, his route lies towards the field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the planes had fell after its passengers tackled the terrorists to prevent it from reaching its Washington destination. The last stop is the Pentagon, just outside Washington DC.
Six moments of silence are to be part of the memorial ceremony, to correspond with when the hijackers crashed Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center; the United Airlines Flight 175 struck the south tower; American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon; the moment when the south tower collapsed; the United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and the north tower collapsed.
The anniversary comes as the United States' abrupt exit from Afghanistan
has been slammed as a “disaster” and “absolute humiliation” by former president Donald Trump. The ex-POTUS fed into the chorus of criticism that had been targeting Joe Biden and his administration for the Afghanistan exit and hectic evacuation, saying on Fox Business:
"I think the best thing he can do is apologise to the American people and apologise to the world […]. The whole world deserves an apology.”
The tragic events
, the twentieth anniversary of which is being now marked, saw four US passenger jets seized by al-Qaeda* terrorists - two of which were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon, outside the US capital, and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
In the wake of those events, after the Taliban, then controlling Afghanistan, had refused to extradite al-Qaeda members, the US launched "Operation Enduring Freedom", with then-President George W. Bush announcing airstrikes targeting both al-Qaeda and the Islamist group in Afghanistan.
In the early hours of August 31st, America ended its almost twenty-year presence in the war-torn country as the last of the US forces swiftly departed Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to launch a swift offensive to reclaim power.
Upon reaching the capital on August 31st, the Islamist group toppled the Kabul government and announced its second advent to power, prompting western nations to launch a frantic effort to evacuate
thousands of their citizens and vulnerable Afghans from the South Asian nation.
*The Taliban, Daesh, al-Qaeda are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.