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Trump marks 9/11 on Air Force One

Washington, Sep 12 – US President Donald Trump marked the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with a moment of silence aboard the Air Force One, according to media reports.

On Friday, Trump travelled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to attend a scaled-back version of the annual Flight 93 memorial service, The Hill news website said in a report.

While en route, Trump and his staff observed a moment of silence at 8.46 a.m., the time when the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

The President, First Lady Melania Trump, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino were among those who stood around a table with heads bowed in the staff cabin of Air Force One.

Hailing the 40 people aboard the United flight 93 as heroes and a symbol of American resolve, Trump said: “The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall and fight back..

The plane had been hijacked and was believed to be headed to Washington, D.C.

Passengers on board fought to take back control of the cockpit, and the aircraft crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. There were no survivors, including the four hijackers.

Friday marked the second time Trump spent a 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, The Hill news website reported.

He last visited the Flight 93 memorial in 2018, and delivered remarks at the Pentagon in 2019.

Meanwhile in New York City, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence came face-to-face at a ceremony to honour the people who lost their lives in the multiple attacks, carried out by the Taliban militant group, after four civilian aircraft were hijacked and steered toward prominent buildings.

The two arrived in Manhattan at the World Trade Center memorial site and greeted one another with an elbow bump.

Later in the day, Biden also travelled to Shanksville, where he laid a wreath at the memorial and met with families of some victims.

Outside the Fire Department of New York City Ten House, a fire station close to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan, firefighters gathered and paid their respects.

The Pentagon’s annual 9/11 remembrances started as they normally do with an unfurling of the American flag on the side of the building at sunrise.

But the main ceremony was largely virtual this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley spoke at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in a live-streamed ceremony.

The attacks that killed 2,977 people and injured over 25,000 others, were the single deadliest terrorist attacks in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the US.