Americans across the country remembered the 22nd anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Monday with moments of silence, tearful words, and appeals to teach younger generations about the tragedy.
In New York City, Vice President Kamala Harris joined other dignitaries at the ceremony on the National September 11 Memorial plaza. Instead of remarks from political figures, the event featured victims reading the names of the dead and delivering brief personal messages.
President Joe Biden, who was in Alaska, urged Americans to rally around protecting democracy. He said that the attack on 9/11 showed that “every generation has to fight” to preserve American freedom.
First lady Jill Biden laid a wreath at the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon, where a giant American flag hung over the side of the building. Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, laid a wreath at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where another plane crashed after passengers tried to storm the cockpit.
September 11 is a day not only to remember, but a day of renewal and resolve for every American — in our devotion to this country, to the principles it embodies, to our democracy.— President Biden (@POTUS) September 11, 2023
That is what we owe one another.
And what we owe future generations of Americans to come. pic.twitter.com/EeCYvo7Q0Q
Many Americans also did volunteer work on what Congress has designated both Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
In Iowa, a march set off at 9:11 a.m. Monday from suburban Waukee to the state Capitol in Des Moines. In Columbus, Indiana, observances included a remembrance message sent to police, fire and EMS radios. New Jersey’s Monmouth County, which was home to some 9/11 victims, this year made Sept. 11 a holiday for county employees so they could attend commemorations.
Pepperdine University’s campus in Malibu, California, displayed one American flag for each victim, plus the flags of every other country that lost a citizen on 9/11.
Today we stood on hallowed ground to remember the 2,977 lives lost in the September 11th attacks.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) September 11, 2023
We will never forget them, and we will never forget the friends and family members who lost loved ones. We stand with you — today and every day. pic.twitter.com/pGxOc9xN8p
Reflecting the tragedy’s scope, U.N. General Assembly President Dennis Francis exhorted world nations Monday to counter extremism, build tolerance, and “join hands and say never again.”
In Fenton, Missouri, a town of 4,000 people more than 650 miles from the attack sites, Mayor Joe Maurath said it was important to continue to remember the events of 9/11.
“We’re just a little bitty community,” he said, “but it’s important for us to continue to remember these events. Not just 9/11, but all of the events that make us free.”