President Donald Trump on Friday remembered the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, saying the 40 passengers on board who overcame terrorist hijackers show that Americans will "fight back."
"America will never relent in pursuing terrorists that threaten our people," Trump said, adding: “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."
In the weeks after the attacks that left 2,977 dead, Americans "were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional country, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath," the president said.
"It was a unity based on love for our families, care for our neighbors, loyalty to our fellow citizens, pride in our great flag, gratitude for our police and first responders, faith in God—and a refusal to bend our will to the depraved forces of violence, intimidation, oppression, and evil," Trump said.
Before the speech, Trump and first lady Melania Trump, along with other White House officials, held a moment of silence onboard their plane.
Trump noted that Flight 93, after it was hijacked by al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, was taken back by passengers who fought back after they learned other planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York City.
“The 40 of Flight 93 did the most American of things, they took a vote,” Trump said on Friday. “And then they acted. Together they charged the cockpit, they confronted the pure evil, and then their last act on this earth, they saved our Capitol.”
Trump, in the address, also paid tribute to "the nearly 6 million young men and women who have enlisted in the United States Armed Forces since September 11th, 2001," adding, “More than 7,000 military heroes have laid down their lives since 9/11 to preserve our freedom. No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Friday after Trump leaves. He was seen attending a memorial at Ground Zero in Manhattan, which was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Biden told reporters that he won't mention politics for the day.
Trump's visit to Pennsylvania on Friday marks the third one to the Keystone State in three weeks, seemingly noting its importance as a swing-state ahead of the November election. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by about 45,000 votes.
Other than Flight 93, which was heading from San Francisco to Newark, three other planes hijacked that day were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington. The attacks sparked the War on Terror that led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the Bush administration.