President Donald Trump observed the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an address from the White House, vowing that the American public would never forget the victims who had died on that day.
On Sept. 11, Trump and first lady Melania Trump stood in silence on the White House South Lawn as mournful bells tolled for 9/11 victims, followed by a bugler playing taps. The president later delivered remarks at the Pentagon.
"The horror and anguish of that dark day were seared into our national memory forever," Trump said, reports The Washington Post. "It was the worst attack on our country since Pearl Harbor and even worse because this was an attack on civilians -- innocent men, women and children whose lives were taken so needlessly."
Trump steered clear of his more controversial rhetoric. His speech focused on the victims and did not reference his oft-repeated warnings of "radical Islamic terrorism."
"On that day, not only did the world change, but we all changed," Trump continued. "Our eyes were opened to depths of the evil we face. But in that hour of darkness, we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked small, our common bonds never felt so strong."
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, one crashed into the Pentagon and another smashed into a Pennsylvania field after the plane's passengers retaliated. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.
While Trump and the first lady observed the 14th anniversary of 9/11 at the White House and the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence flew to a ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the plane crashes. Pence became emotional while honoring the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93. The U.S. Capitol Building is believed to have been the flight's intended target before it crashed into a field.
"I will always believe that I, and many others in our nation's capital, were able to get home that day to hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of the heroes of Flight 93," Pence said, reports the Washington Examiner.
"The American people will forever be inspired by their courage and resolve," Pence continued. "We honor them by remembering them ... and by doing everything in our power as a nation to prevent such evil from ever reaching our shores again."
Former President Barack Obama took to social media to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
"We remember everyone we lost on 9/11 and honor all who defend our country and our ideals," Obama tweeted out. "No act of terror will ever change who we are."
Sources: Barack Obama/Twitter, Washington Examiner, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Dominique A. Pineiro/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr / Embedded Images: Dominique A. Pineiro/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr, Myles D. Cullen/The White House/Flickr