Biden pays tributes to 9/11 victims and heroes on 21st anniversary of tragedy

US President Joe Biden attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon on Sunday to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, saying: “What was destroyed, we have repaired. What was threatened, we fortified. What was attacked, the indomitable spirit, has never, ever wavered.”

Amid inclement weather here with a steady drizzle, he attended a wreath-laying ceremony ahead of his remarks. The event began with a reading of the names of all of the men and women killed in the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, per a White House pool report.

“To all the families and loved ones who still feel the ache of that missing piece of your soul, I’m honoured to be here with you once more to share this solemn rite of remembrance,” Biden said at the ceremony.

“So many heroes were made here. So many of your loved ones were those heroes. Again, almost immediately, with civilians and service members leaping into action as the walls collapsed and the roof began to crumble,” he said.

Biden said the Pentagon “was both the scene of a horrific terrorist attack and the command centre for our response to defend and protect the American people,” adding that “Pentagon staff showed up to work on September 12 more determined than ever to keep the country secure”.

He feted the ideal of American democracy in his speech and invoked the duty of everyday Americans to protect it. “We don’t always live up to it. But we have never walked away from it. That’s what makes us strong. That’s what makes us who we are. And that’s what those hijackers most hoped to destroy,” Biden said, adding, “they failed.”

“We have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility, to defend, preserve and protect our democracy. The very democracy that guarantees the rights of freedom that those terrorists on 9/11 sought to bury in the burning fire and smoke and ash,” he said.

“That takes a commitment on the part of all of us.”

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