20 years of conflict and terror since 9/11
Joe Biden has called for a return to the spirit of “true national unity” that took hold in America in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks 20 years ago.
In a television address on Friday night he said that togetherness was seen in “heroism everywhere”, adding: “To me that’s the central lesson of 11 September. Unity is our greatest strength.”
The US president is to visit the site of all three attacks today, in New York City and Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.
Washington has only just ended its involvement in one of the wars spawned by 9/11. Mr Biden withdrew American forces from Afghanistan last month as the native army the US had spent billions to equip and train collapsed, allowing the Taliban to retake power.
His unilateral decision caught allied nations on the hop and led to chaos at Kabul airport as thousands begged to be saved from the returning theocrats.
Meanwhile, people outside the US will reflect on a world forever changed by the hijackings which killed nearly 3,000 people two decades ago.
All-seeing government surveillance and other privacy infringements like full-body scanners at airports; the rise of Isis in the aftermath of the Iraq war; civilians slaughtered in anonymous drone strikes, including children; lawless “rendition” kidnappings of innocents and terrorists alike.
All this and more can be traced to the hours in which the globe stood aghast, watching smoke billow from the World Trade Centre before the towers’ horrifying collapse.
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Queen marks 9/11 anniversary with message to US
The Queen has marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks with a message to the president of the United States.
Her message said: “As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on 11 September 2001, my thoughts and prayers – and those of my family and the entire nation – remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.
“My visit to the site of the World Trade Centre in 2010 is held fast in my memory. It reminds me that as we honour those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.”
Jon Sharman11 September 2021 08:38
‘It’s still resonating’: 9/11 families and survivors on the last 20 unimaginable years
One of our many commemorative features marking 20 years since the 9/11 attacks
In the months immediately after 9/11, Wendy Lanski was a woman submerged, writes Josh Marcus.
Physically, she’d managed to make it out of the north tower of the World Trade Centre shortly before it collapsed, running until she reached a rescue boat at the water’s edge. Mentally, she never left the building.
How can you forget watching people jump to their deaths, then rewatching them on the news and in your head?
Jon Sharman11 September 2021 08:28
Watch Biden’s ‘unity’ address
Joe Biden calls for unity on 9/11 on 20th anniversary of attacks
Jon Sharman11 September 2021 08:09
Biden calls for unity as US marks 20 years since 9/11 attacks
Joe Biden has appealed for Americans to reclaim the spirit of co-operation that sprang up in the days following the 9/11 terror attacks.
The US president is due to pay his respects at the three sites where hijacked planes crashed – in New York City and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.
However, he will leave speech-making to others, the White House said.
Instead his team released a pre-recorded TV address late on Friday in which Mr Biden spoke of the “true sense of national unity” that emerged after the attacks, seen in “heroism everywhere – in places expected and unexpected”.
“To me that’s the central lesson of 11 September,” he said, adding: “Unity is our greatest strength.”
Mr Biden also offered his condolences to families mourning loved ones two decades on.
He said: “It’s so hard. Whether it’s the first year or the 20th, children have grown up without parents and parents have suffered without children.
“No matter how much time has passed, and these commemorations bring everything painfully back, as if you just got the news a few seconds ago. And so on this day, Jill and I hold you close in our hearts and send you our love.”
Additional reporting by agencies
Jon Sharman11 September 2021 07:50