President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden separately commemorated the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Friday, taking a pause from campaigning to honor the almost 3000 victims killed in the single-most deadliest assault on US soil.
Biden participated in a solemn morning memorial ceremony in New York, where al Qaeda operatives destroyed the World Trade Center with two hijacked jets.
Trump began the day in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where passengers crashed a hijacked plane believed to have been headed to the US Capitol or White House.
In this video below, US commemorates 19th anniversary of 9/11 attacks:
Biden and Vice President Mike Pence, both masked, bumped elbows in greeting at the New York ceremony, one of the many ways the anniversary ceremony has been changed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pence read a biblical verse while Biden made no remarks.
About 200 people including Governor Andrew Cuomo and US Senator Chuck Schumer attended that ceremony, where family members in pre-recorded videos read the names of the more than 2600 people killed when two hijacked jets slammed into the Twin Towers. A third hit the Pentagon.
A similar memorial ceremony was held at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, where people sat socially distanced on folding chairs near the site that Flight 93 went down.
“The only thing that stood between the enemy and a deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women – the amazing passengers and crew of Flight 93,” Trump told the crowd. “America will never relent in pursuing terrorists that threaten our people.”
He noted the US killings of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2019 and of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January, but made no mention of the 2011 killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden under President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden.
Trump, his wife Melania, and family members of one of the flight attendants on Flight 93 took part in a wreath laying ceremony in front of the wall of names of those that were killed. Earlier, all 40 names of the passengers and crew members were read aloud, followed by the ringing of bells of remembrance.
Biden arrived in Shanksville hours later, his path from the airport to the memorial site lined with houses sporting flags in support of Trump.