Wednesday 14 November 2018

President marks anniversary of terror attacks

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with park superintendent Stephen Clark at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photo: Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with park superintendent Stephen Clark at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Photo: Reuters

Arlene Superville

US President Donald Trump marked 17 years since the worst terrorist attack on US soil by visiting the Pennsylvania field that became a September 11 memorial.

Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, were participating in the sombre remembrance in Shanksville, where a California-bound commercial airliner crashed on September 11, 2001, after the 40 passengers and crew members learned what was happening and attempted to regain control of the aircraft. Everyone on board was killed.

Nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11 when other airplanes were flown into New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in an attack planned by al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden. Nearly a decade later, bin Laden was killed in May 2011 during a US military operation ordered by President Barack Obama.

Mr Trump, a New York native making his first visit as president to the Shanksville site, focused on honouring the lives that were lost that day. "Certainly the focus will be on remembering that horrific day and remembering the lives that were lost, and certainly honouring the individuals who were not only lost that day, but also put their lives of the line to help in that process," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Mr Trump observed the anniversary for the first time as president last year. He and the first lady led a moment of silence at the White House accompanied by administration officials at the exact time that hijackers flew the first of two airplanes into the World Trade Centre's Twin Towers.

Mr Trump was in his Trump Tower penthouse, 6.5km from the World Trade Centre, during the 2001 attacks.

He has a mixed history with September 11, often using the terrorist strikes to praise the response of New Yorkers but also making unsubstantiated claims about what he did and saw that day.

Irish Independent

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