Trump and first lady prepare to commemorate September 11

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

"When Americans are in need, Americans pull together", President Donald Trump said at the Pentagon ceremony, his first 9/11 tribute since taking office in January, NBC News reported.

Five Israelis were among the almost 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks.

A somber ritual that includes the tolling of bells and a reading of the victims' names is underway in Pennsylvania, honoring the 33 passengers and seven crew members killed in the terror attack on United Flight 93.

"America can not be intimidated, and those who try will join a long list of vanquished enemies who dared test our mettle", the Republican president said as he spoke at the Pentagon after observing a moment of silence at the White House. Trump was in NY during the 2001 attacks.

Trump later claimed the cheers were from "large Arab populations" in the New Jersey area, however this was denied by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who said: "No one in Jersey City cheered on September 11".

"They can come here and see this handsome tribute, and they can walk through the visitor's center to learn about what happened that day", she said.

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Trump, a native New Yorker observing the anniversary for the first time as the country's leader, assured victims' families that "our entire nation grieves with you" and issued stern words to extremists.

He said that when America is united, "no force on earth can break us apart".

Fast forward 16 years later, and the America now seems galaxies removed from the America we knew in the days before and after 9/11 - much more division, much less hope.

The ceremony on the National Sept. 11 Memorial plaza in NY strives to be apolitical, allowing politicians to attend but not to speak.

At 9:37 a.m. on Monday, the exact time that American Airlines Flight 77, carrying 64 people on a flight bound for Los Angeles, was flown into the side of the Pentagon on September 11, 2011, the president will lead a moment of silence.

The fourth plane, Flight 93, crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Vice President Mike Pence traveled for the day.

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