Commemorations of the September 11 attacks in the United States, 21 years after the tragedy

U.S. President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States, laying a wreath at the Pentagon during a somber commemoration held in steady rain.

Sunday’s ceremony came just over a year after the end of the long and costly war in Afghanistan that the United States and its allies launched in response to the terrorist attacks.

In ending the war in Afghanistan, the Democratic president followed through on a campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from the country’s longest conflict.

However, the war came to a chaotic end in August 2021, when the U.S.backed Afghan government collapsed in the face of a nationwide Taliban advance that brought the fundamentalist group back into power. A bombing, claimed by an Afghanistan based extremist group, killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. soldiers at the Kabul airport, where thousands of desperate Afghans gathered in hopes of escaping before the last U.S. cargo planes left over the Hindu Kush mountain range.

During his speech Sunday, President Biden is expected to discuss the impact of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the world, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

He also will honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed that day when al-Qaida hijackers took control of airliners and crashed them into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

I think you’ll hear him talk about how the United States will remain vigilant against the threat, but also look to future threats and challenges,Kirby said.

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Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan late last month in a low-key way. He issued a statement honoring the 13 U.S. soldiers killed in the Kabul airport bombing and spoke by phone with U.S. veterans involved in the effort to resettle Afghans in the U.S. who helped with the war effort.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticized Biden’s handling of the end of the war in Afghanistan and noted that the country has fallen under the new Taliban regime since the U.S. withdrawal.

Now, a year after the disaster last August, the devastating scale of the impact of President Biden’s decision has become a priority,McConnell said wryly.

Afghanistan has become a global pariah. Its economy has shrunk by nearly a third and half its population is now critically food insecure, he said.

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden will also speak Sunday at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended a memorial service at the National September 11 Memorial in New York City.

Trudeau honors victims

On the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks and National Day of Service, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to the victims in our neighbors to the south.

Twenty-one years ago today, the world witnessed the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of the United States of America, our closest neighbor and ally. Today, we pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of this tragedy from more than 50 countries, including 24 Canadians, and to the thousands more who were injured, he said in a written statement.

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He also paid tribute to the police, firefighters, paramedics, soldiers and citizens who risked their lives to save the lives of others.

Prime Minister Trudeau also took the opportunity to thank first responders “who put their lives on the line every day to keep others safe, including in Canada.

On this National Day of Service, we remember the generosity that people show in the face of tragedy. We think of people and communities across Canada, like Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, where residents provided stranded air passengers with hot meals, clean bedding and access to their homes for hot showers. They also converted schools, churches and community halls into temporary housing. Their hospitality showed the world what it means to be Canadian and reminds us that when we join forces, we can get through the darkest of times.