Sep 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden stresses the importance of democracy in 9/11 anniversary speech

Joe Biden speaks to members of the media
Joe Biden speaks to media prior to boarding Air Force One in New Castle, Del., on Sept. 11. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden attended a ceremony at the Pentagon on Sunday to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Driving the news: Biden attended a wreath-laying ceremony ahead of his remarks. The event began with a reading of the names of all of the men and women killed in the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, per a White House pool report.

What they're saying: "To all the families and loved ones who still feel the ache of that missing piece of your soul, I'm honored to be here with you once more to share this solemn rite of remembrance," Biden said.

  • "So many heroes were made here. So many of your loved ones were those heroes. Again almost immediately, with civilians and service members leaping to action as the walls collapsed and the roof began to crumble," he said.
  • Biden said the Pentagon "was both the scene of a horrific terrorist attack and the command center for our response to defend and protect the American people," adding that "Pentagon staff showed up to work on Sept. 12 more determined than ever to keep the country secure."
  • "What was destroyed, we have repaired. What was threatened, we fortified. What was attacked, the indomitable spirit, has never, ever wavered."

Biden feted the ideal of American democracy in his speech and invoked the duty of everyday Americans to protect it.

  • "We don't always live up to it. But we have never walked away from it. That's what makes us strong. That's what makes us who we are. And that's what those hijackers most hoped to destroy," Biden said, adding, "they failed."
  • "We have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility, to defend, preserve and protect our democracy. The very democracy that guarantees the rights of freedom that those terrorists on 9/11 sought to bury in the burning fire and smoke and ash," he said.
  • "That takes a commitment on the part of all of us."
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