The Latest: Ex-Afghan leader hosts tribal elders on 9/11
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s first 2001 post-Taliban president Hamid Karzai marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America with a meeting of tribal elders at his high-walled compound in the Afghan capital where he has remained with his family since the August return of the Taliban to Kabul.
In a tweet, Karzai called for “peace and stability” and expressed the hope that the new caretaker Cabinet that included no women and no non-Taliban would become an “inclusive government that can be the real face of the whole Afghanistan.”
MORE ON SEPT. 11:
— Read these stories and more AP coverage of the Sept. 11 anniversary at: https://apnews.com/hub/9-11-a-world-changed.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was in the U.S. 20 years ago on Sept. 11 and it’s a day she’ll never forget.
“I still have the front pages of the newspapers from that time because it instantly felt like a moment from which everything would change,” she said. “I saw firsthand the shock and fear that goes hand in hand with terrorism.”
She said that after New Zealand experienced an attack at two mosques by a white supremacist gunman in 2019, which killed 51 and was livestreamed on Facebook, New Zealand had decided to play a leading role in combating online extremism.
She said New Zealand wanted to express unity with all the victims, families and loved ones affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.
NEW YORK — At sundown, two vertical beams of bright blue light shot upward through the darkened New York City sky, evoking the twin towers in an annual tribute visible for miles.
The “Tribute in Light” public art installation first shone six months after the Sept. 11 attacks and has been repeated each anniversary since, with the twin columns reaching up to four miles into the sky from dusk to dawn.
The beams are comprised of 88 xenon light bulbs, each 7,000 watts, positioned into two 48-foot squares on the roof of a parking garage south of the 9/11 Memorial. They can be viewed from a 60-mile radius.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum presents the display to honor those who were killed and celebrate the spirit of the city.
For the 20th anniversary, buildings throughout New York also planned to light up their facades and rooftops in blue.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is ending his day of remembrance by paying his respects at the National Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.
Biden and wife Jill took a moment of silence before a wreath studded with white, purple and red flowers on display in front of the memorial benches that mark the 184 victims of the attack on the Pentagon.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also took a moment of silence at the memorial. All four listened as a uniformed bugler played taps.
It was Biden’s third and final stop of the day, after visiting the National September 11 Memorial in New York City and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania earlier in the day. He is slated to spend the rest of the weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
BOSTON — The body of a U.S. Marine killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan has returned home to Massachusetts on the 20th anniversary of the attacks that led to the war.
Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, was among the U.S. service members and Afghans killed in the Aug. 26 bombing near the Kabul airport.
Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Kim Janey and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey paid their respects to her family as the body arrived Saturday at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
In Rosario Pichardo’s hometown of Lawrence, people lined the streets and waved flags at the vehicle procession of police, firefighters and others that accompanied her casket. A Marine honor guard carried the flag-draped casket into a funeral home.
“She’s coming home on the date, the 20th anniversary of the date, that created the war that cost her life,” Francisco Urena, former state veterans commissioner, told The Boston Globe.
She served with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
A private funeral Mass will be held Monday. A public wake is planned for Tuesday at a stadium in Lawrence, with burial at Bellevue Cemetery.
NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by visiting a fire station and police precinct in New York, where he criticized his successor for the way he pulled out of Afghanistan last month.
Trump skipped joining President Joe Biden and other past presidents at official 9/11 memorial ceremonies Saturday at the World Trade Center and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Instead, he traveled several blocks from his Trump Tower building in Manhattan to the 17th police precinct and the neighboring fire station. Speaking to officers, Trump criticized the withdrawal from Afghanistan and expressed surprise about why it hadn’t come up in other 9/11 memorial speeches. “It was gross incompetence,” he said of the exit.
Trump was asked by the officers whether he plans to launch a comeback run for the White House in 2024 -- or for mayor of New York. He said it was an easy decision that would make them happy.
“If I catch COVID it’s because of you,” Trump said as he posed for photos with police officers.
Trump planned to end the day in Florida, where he is providing commentary on a boxing match.
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — President Joe Biden made the second of his three Sept. 11 stops, visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, not long after Vice President Kamala Harris and former President George W. Bush spoke at a remembrance.
Biden placed a wreath at Memorial Plaza, home to the Wall of Names, where the names of the passengers and the crew from that flight are inscribed in marble.
The president and first lady Jill Biden then walked with relatives of the crash victims into the grassy field when the jet came to rest.
Biden made no public comments during his time at the memorial.
Biden arrived in Pennsylvania after joining former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and other dignitaries, as well as Sept. 11 victims’ family members, at Saturday’s World Trade Center ceremony of remembrance in New York City.
The New York ceremony concluded with taps after victims’ relatives read the names of nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the 2001 attacks.
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — Former President George W. Bush told people at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania that Americans learned much about themselves on Sept. 11.
“We learned that bravery is more common than we imagined, emerging with sudden splendor in the face of death,” Bush said Saturday at a ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
Bush, who was president during the attacks, commended the courage of the Flight 93 passengers and crew who are believed to have foiled an attack on the U.S. Capitol by leading the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania.
“The 33 passengers and seven crew of Flight 93 could have been any group of citizens selected by fate. In a sense, they stood in for us all,” Bush said. “The terrorists soon discovered that a random group of Americans is an exceptional group of people.”
He encouraged Americans to put aside their political differences in the spirit of what he saw after 9/11.
“So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear and resentment,” Bush said. “On America’s day of trial and grief, I saw millions of people instinctively grab their neighbor’s hand and rally to the cause of one another.”
Vice President Kamala Harris began her remarks at the Flight 93 memorial with words for those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11.
“So many in our nation -- too many in our nation -- have deeply felt the passage of time these past 20 years,” she said. “Please know your nation sees you and we stand with you and we support you.”
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — The victims and heroes of Flight 93 are being commemorated at a ceremony at the site where the plane crashed in a field on Sept. 11, 2001.
President Joe Biden was making an appearance, and Vice President Kamala Harris, former President George W. Bush and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf were also speaking.
Wolf said the passengers and crew of Flight 93, whose actions are believed to have led the hijackers to abandon their mission of targeting the U.S. Capitol, offered a lasting lesson of courage and hope.
“This story and this place remind us each day what it means to be an American,” said Wolf, a Democrat. “In times of strife, we Americans, we come together. We comfort each other. We protect each other and we stand up for each other. This memorial is a powerful reminder of what we have lost. But it’s also a powerful reminder of the strength of the American spirit.”
Larry Catuzzi, father of Flight 93 passenger Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, said in an interview that he talks to her every day.
“I say something that kind of reminds me of her, and I’ll talk to her. Or something good happens to me and i thank her for her being with me,” said Catuzzi, whose 38-year-old daughter was pregnant when she perished.
The family started a foundation in her name that has distributed college scholarships to more than 100 girls, funded three neonatal units and built a park in Houston memorializing the victims of Flight 93.
ARLINGTON, Va. — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says that “we remember not just who our fallen teammates were, but the mission that they shared.”
Austin made the prepared remarks at a Pentagon ceremony Saturday marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
He continued, “We recall their common commitment to defend our republic … and to squarely face new dangers.”
Austin noted that “almost a quarter of the citizens who we defend today were born after 9/11,” including many of the 13 American service members killed in the recent attack in Afghanistan.
He says that “as the years march on, we must ensure that all our fellow Americans know and understand what happened here on 9/11 … and in Manhattan … and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”
The Pentagon chief says that “it is our responsibility to remember. And it is our duty to defend our democracy.”
He says, “We cannot know what the next 20 years will bring. We cannot know what new dangers they will carry. … But we do know that America will always lead.”
And to the audience at the Pentagon commemoration, the defense secretary said, “We still work here. We still remember here. We still uphold our values here. With clear heads and fearless hearts.”
NEW YORK — Bruce Springsteen has performed at the World Trade Center memorial plaza during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The audience of dignitaries and family members of people killed in the 2001 attacks applauded after Springsteen performed his song “I’ll See You In My Dreams” while accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica.
Victims’ relatives then resumed their reading of names of the fallen, a tradition since the first anniversary of the attacks that leveled the trade center’s twin towers.
NEW YORK — The 9/11 anniversary commemoration at ground zero has begun with a tolling bell and a moment of silence, exactly 20 years after the start of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
President Joe Biden, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, members of Congress, and other dignitaries joined a crowd of victims’ relatives Saturday on the Sept. 11 memorial plaza in New York. The memorial stands where the World Trade Center’s twin towers were rammed and felled by hijacked planes.
Observances are also planned at the two other sites where the 9/11 conspirators crashed their hijacked jets: the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Biden is scheduled to pay respects at all three places, and former President George W. Bush is to speak at the Pennsylvania ceremony.