“I know for all those of you who lost someone, 21 years is both a lifetime and no time at all,” Biden said at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. “It’s good to remember. These memories help us heal, but they can also open up the hurt and take us back to that moment when the grief was so raw.”
“It’s not enough to stand up for democracy once a year or every now and then. It’s something we have to do every single day,” the President said. “So this is a day not only to remember, but a day of renewal and resolve for each and every American and our devotion to this country.”
“And now Zawahiri can never again threaten the American people,” the President said.
Before the speech, Biden participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon, pausing briefly in front of a ceremonial wreath to touch it and then putting his hand over his heart. He was joined at the event by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The White House announced earlier that attendants for the President’s remarks at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial included “family members of the fallen, first responder, representatives from first responder groups, and Department of Defense leadership.”
Biden also said Sunday morning in Delaware that he has “a plan” for the families of 9/11 victims.
Responding to questions from reporters before boarding Air Force One to travel to Washington, DC, Biden, when asked if he had a plan to deal with the families of 9/11 victims who want justice after the terror attacks, responded, “Yes, there is a plan for that,” without elaborating.
And first lady Jill Biden spoke Sunday at a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where she was joined by her sister, Bonny Jacobs, a flight attendant for United Airlines.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was a New York senator at the time of the 9/11 attacks, said Sunday that the day was “indelibly part of my memories.”
“I feel grateful that we were able to come together as a country at that really terrible time. We put aside differences. I wish we could find ways of doing that again,” Clinton told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“We have also, I think have been reminded about how important it is to try to deal with extremism of any kind, especially when it uses violence to try to achieve political and ideological goals,” she added. “I’m one who thinks that there are lessons still to be learned from what happened to us on 9/11 that we should be very aware of, during this time in our country and the world’s history.”
This story has been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Rashard Rose, Kate Bennett, Aaron Pellish and Devan Cole contributed to this report.