Vice President Mike Pence emphasized in a Tuesday ceremony the importance of ensuring those born after September 11, 2001 know what happened and why their fellow Americans were callously murdered by Islamic terrorists that day.
“We will never forget what took place in this place on that fateful morning,” Pence said, telling the crowd President Donald Trump had asked him to be there with them at the Pentagon. He recalled words from the Bible to “mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve.”
“Here on the banks of the Potomac we meet again, in this place,” Pence said, recalling also those gathering in New York and Pennsylvania. President Trump would speak soon after at the memorial to the passengers of Flight 93 in Shanksville.
“Seventeen years ago today America fell under attack. Nineteen radical Islamic terrorists seized control of four commercial airlines to strike the centers of our economy, our military, and our national government,” recalled Pence. He marked 8:46 a.m. when one struck the north tower of the World Trade Center, then the south tower 17 minutes later.
He recalled the passengers of Flight 93 who bravely thwarted the plans of those who hijacked that plane they had planned for Washington.
“Here, at 9:37 [a.m.] terrorists struck this great citadel of American strength,” Pence said of the attack on the Pentagon that day.
He counted the 2,977 men, women, and children who died in the 9/11 Islamic terror attacks, noting specifically the 184 who fell at the Pentagon. Fifty-nine of those were passengers of Flight 77 which the terrorists crashed into the Pentagon where 125 more “dedicated Americans serving in the hallways of the Department of Defense” were murdered.
He said of those killed in the Pentagon and on the flight that crashed in to it:
They were mothers and fathers and fathers to be. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. They were family. They were senior citizens and first generation citizens. They were doctors and engineers, a Sunday school teacher, a little league coach. They were young professionals with new careers and there were little children just finding their way in the world. There were recent recruits and decorated veterans, patriots all. Among them were a mom and dad, two daughters, the Falkenbergs, who had just celebrated the third birthday of their youngest, Dana, earlier that summer. A sixth grade teacher Sarah Clark, chaperoning three students on a trip from California. Her fiancé will never forget those last three words he heard, I love you.
He spoke of a budget analyst Odessa Morris who volunteered in the community and at her church, an Air Force veteran Jim Lynch who flew an American flag on a 15-foot pole in his front yard.
“The American people stand with you and we always will,” he told those who had lost loved ones. He then recounted where he was when he learned of the attacks and a staffer who shouted when the Pentagon was hit.
“A growing number of Americans have no living memory of what happened here,” said Pence. “Roughly one quarter of our people were born after September the 11th, 2001.” He assured the crowd that they gather to remember, but also to “ensure that each succeeding generation knows the story of what happened that dark day and understands why. We must learn the lessons of 9/11 and remain ever vigilant in the defense of our nation and our people.”
“The terrorists who carrier out these attacks sought not just to take the lives of our people and crumble buildings, they hoped to break our spirit, and they failed,” said the vice president. “The American people showed, on that day and every day since, we will not be intimidated. Our spirit cannot be broken.”
“The American people will not be intimidated. Our spirit cannot be broken. In the moments after the attack in this very place, the character, the resilience, & the courage of the American people shone forth. The selfless acts of courage at the Pentagon defined the day.” –@VP pic.twitter.com/pOcnXUBp1G
— Alyssa Farah (@VPPressSec) September 11, 2018
Pence spoke of the stories of heroism in the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon, of those who returned to the burning building after evacuating in order to rescue those injured and stuck inside.
“Last year President Trump signed the largest increase in our national defense in a generation and with that renewed support we’re giving our men and women in uniform and their commanding officers, the resources and rules of engagement they need to fight and win where the perpetrators of this attack found safe haven,” said Pence.
“The terorrists of 9/11 inspired new enemies to spread violence and their geneocidal ideology across the wider world,” said Pence. He said because of President Trump, Islamic State is on the run and soon would be eliminated from the face of the earth.
“The evil of 17 years ago still lingers in our world,” said Pence who delivered the message that President Trump brought to the Pentagon the year before, “We overcome every challenge, we triumph over evil and we remain united as one nation under God.”