WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump honored the lives lost in the 9/11 terror attacks with a Pentagon ceremony yesterday marking the “dark day” 16 years ago.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke separately near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where 40 died after airline passengers and crew thwarted another attack.
Both men underscored the continuing war on terrorism as necessary to protect the homeland and said Americans united in 9/11’s aftermath just as they are doing now in Harvey and Irma recovery efforts.
“When Americans are in need, Americans pull together. And we are one country,” said the president at the Pentagon memorial for the 184 people killed when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the building.
Trump, a New York City native, was in Manhattan when the Twin Towers fell in 2001.
Earlier yesterday, he observed a moment of silence from the White House at 8:46 a.m., the moment the terrorists flew a plane into the north tower of the World Trade Center. “The horror and anguish of that dark day were seared into our national memory forever,” he said.
Trump addressed the families of the nearly 3,000 slain.
“Today our entire nation grieves with you,” he said.
“Though we can never erase your pain, or bring back those you lost, we can honor their sacrifice by pledging our resolve to do whatever we must to keep our people safe,” he said.
Near Shanksville, Pence recalled as heroes the United Airlines Flight 93 passengers and crew who fought terrorists to regain control of the plane.
They ensured it never reached its intended destination, and the plane crashed instead into a field, where 40 died.
“Today we pause as a nation not so much to remember tragedy, as to celebrate heroism and patriotism,” Pence said.
While Trump did not recount his personal experience on Sept. 11, 2001, Pence — then a congressman — reflected on the scene of panic and chaos at the U.S. Capitol complex.
Also yesterday, the White House confronted questions about remarks former strategist Steve Bannon made to CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”
Bannon called Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director James Comey the biggest mistake in “modern political history.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president “was right” in ousting Comey.
“Since the director’s firing we’ve learned new info about his conduct that only provided further justification,” she said, citing what she called false testimony and leaked privileged information.