President Donald Trump led the nation’s tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks on Wednesday at a Pentagon memorial service, honoring those who lost their lives and warning any American enemy that seeks to attack the nation.
“For every American who lived through that day, the Sept. 11 attack is seared into our soul,” Trump said. “It was a day filled with shock, horror, sorrow and righteous fury.”
The president offered a direct message to the family members of the 184 people killed when a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.
“For the families who join us, this is your anniversary of personal and permanent loss,” he said. “It’s the day that has replayed in your memory a thousand times over: the last kiss, the last phone call, the last time hearing those precious words ‘I love you.’
“To each of you, the first lady and I are united with you in grief. We come here in the knowledge that we cannot erase the pain or reverse the evil of that dark and wretched day. But we offer you all that we have: our unwavering loyalty, our undying devotion and our eternal pledge that your loved ones will never, ever be forgotten.”
Trump, who was in Manhattan’s Trump Tower when the attacks took place, recalled the day from his perspective, speaking about how rumors flew about what had taken place a few blocks away at the World Trade Center.
“I was looking out of a window from a building in midtown Manhattan directly at the World Trade Center when I saw the second plane at a tremendous speed go into the second tower,” the president said.
“It was then that I realized the world was going to change,” he said.
Trump issued a warning to any enemy who might think of replicating the attacks.
“We do not seek conflict, but if anyone dares to strike our land, we will respond with the full measure of American power and the iron will of the American spirit,” he said.
The president used the occasion to reference an aborted meeting he had scheduled with representatives of the Taliban.
“We had peace talks scheduled a few days ago. I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great American soldier from Puerto Rico and 11 other innocent people. They thought they would use this attack to show strength, but actually what they showed is unrelenting weakness,” Trump said, adding that in response the military has “hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before. And that will continue.
“And if for any reason, they come back to our country, we will go wherever they are, and use power, the likes of which the United States has never used before. And I’m not even talking about nuclear power. They will never have seen anything like what will happen to them. No enemy on earth can match the overwhelming strength skill and might of the American armed forces.”
Prior to the ceremony, the White House issued statements from the president, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
The statements by the president and his wife showed them at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They attended the memorial’s opening Sept. 11, 2018. Pence was scheduled to attend the ceremony there this year.
Today, our nation pauses to remember and honor those who fell on 9/11. Their memory will always be in the heart of every American and we will never forget the heroism and courage shown on that fateful day. pic.twitter.com/PyG0Aq8Zo0
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) September 11, 2019
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 11, 2019
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
Today, we pause to remember nearly 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001. We honor the extraordinary courage of the first responders, military service members, and every day Americans who answered the call. They never wavered, and we will never forget. ?? pic.twitter.com/uL9T5HDTik
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) September 11, 2019
“Today, we pause to remember nearly 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001. We honor the extraordinary courage of the first responders, military service members, and every day Americans who answered the call. They never wavered, and we will never forget,” Grisham tweeted.
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