Vice President Harris on Saturday reflected on the courage and unity of the passengers of Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001, calling on Americans to honor the lives lost during the terror attacks 20 years ago by coming together as a nation.
“In a matter of minutes, in the most dire of circumstances, the 40 responded as one. They fought for their own lives and to save the lives of countless others at our nation’s capital,” Harris said in prepared remarks during a ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville.
“After today, it is my hope and prayer that we continue to honor their courage, their conviction with our own, that we honor their unity by strengthening our common bonds, by strengthening our global partnerships and by always living out our highest ideals,” Harris continued. “This work will not be easy, it never has been, and it will take all of us believing in who we are as a nation, and it will take all of us going forth to work together.”
Harris used the bulk of her speech to reflect on the way that most Americans united together following the deadliest attack in U.S. history. She also noted that the days following 9/11 demonstrated “how fear can be used to sow division in our nation,” recognizing the discrimination against Muslim Americans.
“Looking back we remember, the vast majority of Americans were unified in purpose to help families heal, to help communities recover, to defend our nation and to keep us safe. In a time of outright terror, we turned toward each other,” Harris said. “That time reminded us the significance and the strength of our unity as Americans and that it is possible in America.”
Harris is the highest-ranking member of the Biden administration to deliver a speech on the 20-year anniversary of the attacks. President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE is attending ceremonies at all three sites of the attacks but is not giving remarks. He instead recorded a video message recognizing the lives lost and calling for national unity that was released by the White House on Friday evening.
Biden, who attended the ceremony at ground zero in New York City Saturday morning, is scheduled to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville in the afternoon. The president, vice president, first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Jill Biden talks about what it's like visiting GOP states MORE and second gentleman Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations — Global supply chain bottleneck worries for U.S. economy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Biden: We will fix nation's problems The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - New front in mandate wars; debt bill heads to Biden MORE will later take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon.
Harris’s remarks Saturday morning came after those of former President George W. Bush, who was president during the attacks. Harris thanked Bush for his remarks and said it was an honor to be on stage with him and former first lady Laura Bush before beginning her own speech.
Two planes struck the twin towers in New York City, and another hit the Pentagon as part of the coordinated 9/11 attacks. A fourth, United Airlines Flight 93, went down in an empty field near Shanksville after passengers and the flight crew tried to take back control of the plane, foiling terrorists' plans to fly to Washington, D.C. All 44 people on board were killed in the crash, including the four al Qaeda hijackers.
Harris described the site in Shanksville as a place “sanctified by sacrifice,” honoring the heroism and courage of the 33 passengers and seven crew members on board the flight.
“What happened on Flight 93 told us then and it still tells us so much about the courage of those on board, who gave everything they possibly could, about the resolve of the first responders, who risked everything, and about the resilience of the American people,” Harris said.
Harris along with Emhoff, Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandCheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Dems vow to keep emissions cuts MORE and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfJosh Shapiro officially launches Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign Republicans are today's Dixiecrats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - House debt vote today; Biden struggles to unite MORE (D) walked down to the crash site following her remarks.