President Biden on Sunday paid tribute to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon and called for renewed national unity and determination to defend democracy.
In light rain in the nation’s capital, Biden solemnly commemorated the dead and their families.
“For those of you who have lost someone, 21 years is both a lifetime and no time at all,” he said. “It’s good to remember. These memories help us heal. But they can also open up the pain and take us back to the moment when the grief was so raw.”
Biden said the deadly attacks changed the course of American history but also revealed the country’s inner strength and determination.
“American history itself changed that day,” he said. “What we will not change, what we cannot change and never will change, is the character of this nation, which the terrorists thought they could hurt. What is this character? The character of sacrifice and love, of generosity and grace, of strength and resilience.”
He also commended the country’s persistence and patience in bringing those responsible to justice, citing the murders of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“What was destroyed, we fixed it,” he said. “We fixed what was threatened. The indomitable spirit has never faltered.”
Biden urged Americans to rediscover the collective purpose that emerged after the attacks.
“In the midst of these dark days we dug deep,” he said. “We took care of each other and we came together. We have regained the light to reach out to each other and find something all too rare, a true sense of national unity. For me, that is the greatest lesson of 9/11.”
While the speech was largely retrospective, Biden urged Americans to also look to future challenges.
“This day is not about the past, but about the future,” he said. “We have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility to preserve and protect our democracy. The very democracy that guarantees the liberties that the terrorists wanted to bury in the burning fire of smoke and ash on 9/11.”
Achieving that goal, he said, will require greater national unity.
“We are living up to the great responsibility of securing our democracy together as one America, as a United States of America,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/11/biden-says-americans-have-duty-to-stand-up-for-democracy-at-9-11-pentagon-ceremony/ Biden says Americans have a “duty” to stand up for democracy at Pentagon ceremony on 9/11