President Donald Trump with wife Melania joined the nation in a minute’s silence to mark the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people when hijackers flew commercial planes into the World Trade Center.
The President fell silent with staff and officials at the White House at 9.37am this morning – the very moment the American Airlines Flight struck the twin towers in central New York.
Commemorations will be ongoing across much of the US. In New York, remembrance began at 8.46am with a citywide minute’s silence.
The names of all the victims killed were read aloud at the 9/11 Memorial Museum while Trump also participated in a special ceremony at the Pentagon.
Vice President Mick Pence will represent the administration at a ceremony at a memorial in Shanksville.
Thanking the emergency services, families and victims impacted by Hurricane Irma and Harvey, he said: “I would like to send our nation’s prayers to everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma and to everyone suffering through the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
“These are storms of catastrophic severity and we are marshalling the full resources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and all of those wonderful states and places in harm’s way.
“When Americans are in need, Americans pull together. We are one country and when we face hardship we emerge closer, stronger and more determined than ever.”
Honoring the victims of 9/11, Mr. Trump said: “Today our nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago.
“Each family here today represents a son or daughter, a sister or brother, a mother or father who was taken from you on that terrible day.
But no force on earth can ever take away your memories, diminish your love or break your will to endure, carry on and go forward.
“We can never erase the past or bring back those you lost. We can honor their sacrifice by strengthening our resolve to do whatever we must to keep our people safe.
“On that day not only did the world change but we all changed. Our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we face.
“But in that hour in darkness we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked so small, our common bonds never felt so strong. The sacrificed grounds on which we stand on today are a monument to our national unity and to our strength.
“For more than seven decades the Pentagon has stood as a global symbol of American might. Not only because of the great power contained in these walls but of the incredible character of the people who fill them.
“They secure our freedom, they defend our flag and they support our courageous troops all around the world.
“Among the 184 brave Americans who perished on these grounds were young enlisted service members, dedicated civil servants and veterans who served our nation in Korea, Vietnam and in the Middle East.
All of them love this country and pledge their very lives to protect them.
That September morning died as they had lived, as heroes. Doing their duty and protecting us and our country. We mourn them, we honor them and we pledge to never, ever forget them.”
In a message addressing the current threat facing the world, including jihadis in Islamic State and the nuclear force of North Korea threatening World War 3, Donald Trump said: “The terrorists who attacked us thought they could insight fear and weaken our spirit but America cannot be intimidated and those who try will soon join the long list of languished enemies who dare to test our mettle.
“In the years after September 11 more than 5 million young men and women have joined the ranks of our military to defend our country against dark forces of evil.
“They are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the horrible horrible enemies. Enemies we have never seen before.
“We are ensuring they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country.
“We are making plain to these savage killers there are no dark corner out of our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp and no where to hide anywhere on this very large earth.”