President Donald Trump on Wednesday recalled where he was on 9/11 when he learned about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
“In times of distress, the heart of the American patriot only grows stronger and more determined,” Trump said.
He praised the American heroes aboard Flight 93, who fought back against the terrorists causing the plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field.
“Even in the midst of the attack the world witnessed the awesome power of American defiance,” he said.
He honored the perseverance of the police officers, first responders, and firefighters who raced into the World Trade Center to help victims of the attacks.
The president recalled the heroism of Rick Rescorla, the security head for Morgan Stanley, who immediately helped evacuate employees the South Tower after the attack and went back in to help others when the tower collapsed. Trump said he would soon award Rescorla the Presidential Citizens Medal for his bravery.
The president also saluted the heroes of the military who continued to fight terrorism.
“They have crossed seas, climbed mountains, trekked through deserts, and rushed into enemy compounds to face down the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” he said.
He recalled the nearly 7,000 servicemembers who have died in the war on terrorism and promised to continue fighting it at its source.
The president also warned the Taliban and other terrorists not to attack the United States in the future.
“We do not seek conflict, but if anyone dares to strike our land, we will respond with the full measure of American power and the iron will of the American spirit, and that spirit is unbreakable,” he said.
Trump also recalled his own memories of 9/11 and the immediate aftermath.
“For every American that lived through that day, the September 11th attack is seared into our soul,” he said. “It was a day filled with shock horror, sorrow, and righteous fury.”
Trump recalled watching a business network show as they were about to interview GE CEO Jack Welch when the cameras cut away to the World Trade Center after the first plane struck one of the towers.
“Nobody really knew what happened, there was great confusion,” Trump recalled, noting that early reports suggested that it could have been a boiler fire or a kitchen fire.
He said he watched as the second plane hit from a building in midtown Manhattan, which changed his life forever.
“I was then that I realized that the world was going to change, I was no longer going to be and it could never ever be that innocent place that I thought it was,” he said.
Trump recalled visiting Ground Zero after the attacks.
“Soon after I went down to Ground Zero with men who worked for me to try and help any way that we could,” he said. “We were not alone.”
The president noted for many families in America, 9/11 brought back many sorrowful memories of pain and loss.
“You waited, you prayed, you answered that most dreaded call, and your life changed forever,” Trump said. “To each of you, the First Lady and I are united with you in grief.”