Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a hopeful vision for the future of the United States on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Mr. Lloyd commemorated the anniversary at the Pentagon ceremony on Saturday morning, asserting that it is “our responsibility to remember” the events that happened two decades ago.
The secretary also touched on the unknown challenges of the future, but promised a prepared nation for whatever comes.
“We cannot know what the next 20 years will bring,” Mr. Lloyd said. “We cannot know what new dangers they will carry. We cannot foresee what Churchill once called ‘the originality of malice.’ But we do know that America will always lead.”
Mr. Lloyd also made note that nearly a quarter of U.S. citizens alive today were born after 9/11 and that several of the 13 service members who were killed in a recent terror attack in Afghanistan were just infants then.
Mr. Milley discussed the “idea of America” and the constitutional values he said were meant to be disrupted by the attacks.
“All of that is what our fallen believed in and what they embodied,” Mr. Milley said. “All of the values and principles embedded in our Constitution and made real in our daily lives were paid for by the blood of the fallen at this place at 9:37 on Sept. 11, 2001.”
The general also asserted that the American values of freedom and unity will always be protected against its enemies.
“No terrorist anywhere on Earth will ever destroy that idea,” Mr. Milley said.
Several former and current officials attended remembrance ceremonies held in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
President Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, and former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were at Ground Zero in New York.
Former President George W. Bush spoke in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed due to a group of passengers and crew who overtook the plane hijacked by four al-Qaeda terrorists.
Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke at the site.
Former President Donald Trump is expected to visit Ground Zero in New York after this morning’s ceremony concludes.
Mr. Biden is not scheduled to speak. The White House released his pre-recorded remarks on Friday.
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