President Trump attended a somber 9/11 commemoration Friday at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, saying America owes an “immeasurable debt” to the more than 7,000 military service members who have given their lives around the world since the terrorist attacks 19 years ago.
“We express our undying loyalty to the nearly 6 million young men and women who have enlisted in the United States Armed Forces since September 11, 2001,” the president said.
Referring to the service members who have been killed in various conflicts since then, Mr. Trump said, “No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we will strive every single day to repay our immeasurable debt and prove worthy of their supreme sacrifice.”
The president and first lady Melania Trump visited the memorial at the site where United Flight 93 crashed in a field at 10:03 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. The names of the plane’s 40 passengers were read aloud as remembrance bells tolled for each one.
The first couple bowed their heads as a wreath was placed at a wall bearing the names of the dead.
The passengers had fought back against radical Islamist suicide hijackers while the aircraft was 18 minutes away from its intended target in Washington, either the Capitol or the White House. Three other planes already had struck the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon; in all, nearly 3,000 people were killed.
Mr. Trump said of the attacks on that day, “the battle turned in the skies above this field.”
“They did the most American of things — they took a vote, and then they acted,” the president said of the Flight 93 passengers. “In their last act on this Earth, they saved our capital.”
This year’s ceremony was closed to the public due to coronavirus concerns. Family members and other invited guests attended, as well as several lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat.
Mr. Trump said the heroes of Flight 93 “are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back.”
“Today, we pay tribute to their sacrifice, and we mourn deeply for the nearly 3,000 precious and beautiful souls who were taken from us on September 11, 2001,” he said. “In their memory, we resolve to stand united as one American nation, to defend our freedoms, to uphold our values, to love our neighbors, to cherish our country, to care for our communities, to honor our heroes, and to never forget.”
Stephen Clark, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial, said the passengers on Flight 93 were strangers who “came together in this national moment of uncertainty.”
“Their sacrifice that morning saved an untold number of lives,” Mr. Clark said.
Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden, who attended a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in New York, was to visit the memorial in Shanksville later Friday.