Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. This national trauma, which was felt worldwide, is widely commemorated in the country.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day. Two hijacked passenger planes flew into the famous Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York in the morning. Another plane flew into the Pentagon near Washington, and a fourth plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
President Joe Biden will appear in all three spots on Saturday along with his wife, Jill. He follows the same route that Barack Obama took in 2011. Then, ten years ago, the former president in New York attended the National September 11 Memorial & Museum opening at ‘ground zero’. Obama will be back in New York on Saturday.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband also travel to Shanksville, to the crash site of Flight 93. However, they attend a different memorial than Biden. Later in the day, they join the president for a memorial service at the Pentagon.
Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are also in Shanksville on Saturday. He gives a speech there in front of the relatives of the victims of Flight 93. Bush was president of the US during the attacks in 2001 and was sworn in less than eight months before.
Donald Trump has not announced any plans to attend a memorial. An adviser to Biden’s predecessor told The Washington Post that he might be attending a memorial in Manhattan. Trump will, however, provide TV commentary at a boxing match on Saturday night, which has come under criticism.
The commemorations come at a sensitive time. The September 11 attacks prompted the United States and its allies to invade Afghanistan in 2001, as the Taliban housed the responsible al-Qaeda terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban were soon defeated but did not disappear. After years of negotiations, the Taliban and the US reached an agreement in 2020 on the departure of the US and its allies. During the withdrawal, the Taliban quickly recaptured the country. At the end of last month, the US withdrawal was completed.
A recent poll by ABC News and The Washington Post reports that 49 percent of Americans believe the United States has become safer from terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001, compared to 64 percent ten years ago.