As the U.S. marked the 21st anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, Americans came together today, September 11, to remember and honor the nearly 3,000 souls lost.
On this day 21 years ago, terrorists hijacked four U.S. passenger planes, intent on crashing them into targeted buildings to kill as many Americans as possible. Two of the planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. One plane struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth plane, thought to be headed to the White House, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after its passengers tried to overtake the hijackers.
Then-President George W. Bush was notified of the attacks while reading to children in a school library in Florida. Later that evening, around 8:30 p. m. President Bush issued a statement on the attacks.
“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve,” Bush said. “Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America — with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.”
The official death toll of the coordinated attacks is 2,977, and thousands more were injured.
Twenty-one years later, the events of that day have not been forgotten. Various memorial events were held around the country today to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas houses a permanent memorial dedicated to the fallen heroes and victims of the attacks that took place that day. In the center of the room stands a mashed steel beam from one of the towers that fell, along with a wall etched with the names of the heroes and victims.
Bush took part in a brief memorial flag service on Sunday just before the Rangers baseball game to mark the day.
The City of Dallas hosted a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Fountain Place Tower downtown. First responders — firefighters, police, and emergency service personnel — climbed 110 stories, each carrying the photo of a first responder who died in the attacks 21 years ago.
The stair climb symbolized the trek to the top of the former World Trade Center towers.
The City of Fort Worth hosted a similar event at the Bank of America Tower in Fort Worth.
In New York City, Vice President Kamala Harris joined some 2,000 mourners for an emotional memorial service at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The ceremony included the annual reading of the names of each victim who died that day.
President Joe Biden paid his respects for 9/11 at the Pentagon, where 184 lost their lives in the terrorist attacks.
“Twenty-one years ago, twenty-one years, and we’ve still kept our promise to never forget,” Biden said at the memorial service. “It’s good to remember; it helps us to heal.”
Biden then quoted a comment that Queen Elizabeth made shortly after the attacks: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
Meanwhile, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden spoke at a memorial service at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, honoring the 40 passengers and crew of that fateful flight.
U.S. forces are still searching for those responsible for planning and participating in terrorist attacks. Most recently, a CIA airstrike killed Ayman al-Zawahri, a key al-Qaeda figure and one of the alleged masterminds of the 9/11 attacks.