9/11 Memorial: Biden calls on Americans ‘to protect our democracy’

Sep 12, 2023, 6:00 AM | Updated: 7:47 am

(Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)...

(Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden marked the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Monday, telling servicemembers gathered in Anchorage, “terrorism – including political and ideological violence – is the opposite of all we stand for as a nation.”

“We must not succumb to the poisonous politics of difference and division, must never allow ourselves to be pulled apart attending manufactured grievances, we must continue to stand united,” he said. “We all have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility to defend, to preserve, to protect our democracy.”

Biden, who has previously marked 9/11 with visits to sites in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, and Ground Zero in New York acknowledged that though Elmendorf Air Force Base is not “located at Ground Zero, we know the distance did not dull or diminish the pain we felt across the nation of September 11.” Biden was speaking at the base as he traveled back from Hanoi, Vietnam, his final stop on a whirlwind trip to Asia to meet with Vietnamese leaders and attend the G-20 summit in New Delhi.

“Because we know that on this day, 22 years ago, [planes] from this base were scrambled on high alert to escort planes through the airspace, Alaskan communities opened their doors to stranded passengers, American flags sold out in every store and were placed in front of seemingly every home,” he said. “We know that on this day, every American’s heart was wounded, yet in every big city, small town, suburb, rural town, tribal community, American hands went up, ready to help where they could, ready to serve like so many of you here.”

In the days that followed 9/11, the president acknowledged, national unity reached a fever pitch in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

“Now it shouldn’t take a national tragedy to remind us of the power of national unity, but that’s how we truly honor those we lost on 9/11,” he said. “By remembering what we can do together. To remember what was destroyed, what can we repair, what was threatened, what we fortified, what was attacked – an indomitable American spirit prevailed over all of it.”

And he touted the steps the nation had taken in the years since 9/11 to eradicate terrorism, noting American forces “served and sacrificed, again and again, to defend our democracy and deny terrorists the safe haven, following Osama bin Laden to the end of earth – and not only send him to the gates of hell 12 years ago,” but took out al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri last year.

He also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Sen. John McCain, whose memorial he stopped by earlier on Monday in Hanoi.

“One thing I always admired about John was how he put duty to country first, and that’s not hyperbole, he did,” Biden said. “Above party, above politics, above his own person. This day reminds us, we must never lose that sense of national unity. So, let that be the common cause of our time – let us honor September 11 by renewing our faith in one another.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

Chad Daybell during his murder trial on April 16, 2024....

Mary Culbertson

Judge bars prosecutor from taking stand in Chad Daybell trial

On the fourth day of testimony in the Chad Daybell trial Tuesday, the jury heard further testimony from law enforcement officers.

1 hour ago

A Utah Highway Patrol Trooper has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his daughter's friend....

Simone Seikaly

Utah trooper arrested for allegedly assaulting daughter’s friend

Richfield police allege a Utah Highway Patrol trooper inappropriately touched a 19-year-old woman -- a friend of his daughter's -- without her consent.

8 hours ago

former president donald trump shown, his hush money trial is under way and jurors are still being p...


First 7 jurors are chosen for Trump’s hush money criminal trial; 11 more still needed

Possible jurors for the hush money trial were questioned about their views on Trump and other issues, as well as social media posts.

9 hours ago

A gold statue holds a justice scale....

Peter Johnston

Owners of Urban Armz gun shop facing fraud charges

The couple that owns Urban Armz is facing fraud charges for over $600,000 worth of equipment that was never delivered to customers.

10 hours ago

season 2 of the letter podcast features family of jordan rasmussen...

Amy Donaldson

The Letter podcast debuts second season on 1982 murders

The 1982 Millcreek murders of two young fathers sets the stage for season 2 of The Letter podcast, exploring themes of trauma and forgiveness.

18 hours ago

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, here on March 6, was sentenced by a New Mexico judge to 18 months in prison ...

Christina Maxouris, Cheri Mossburg and Eric Levenson, CNN

‘Rust’ movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed sentenced to 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer of the film “Rust," was sentenced by a New Mexico judge to 18 months in prison. She who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

9/11 Memorial: Biden calls on Americans ‘to protect our democracy’