Leaders Honor 9/11 Victims at Ground Zero, Pentagon

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 — Four days after announc­ing the killing of al-Qai­da leader and 9/11 attack mas­ter­mind Osama bin Laden, top admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials remem­bered those killed in the attacks with cer­e­monies today at ground zero in New York City and at the Pen­ta­gon here.

“What hap­pened on Sun­day — because of the courage of our mil­i­tary and the out­stand­ing work of our intel­li­gence — sent a mes­sage around the world, but also sent a mes­sage here back home that when we say we will nev­er for­get, we mean what we say — that our com­mit­ment to mak­ing sure that jus­tice is done is some­thing that tran­scend­ed pol­i­tics, tran­scend­ed par­ty,” Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said at ground zero.

“It didn’t mat­ter which admin­is­tra­tion was in, it didn’t mat­ter who was in charge; we were going to make sure that the per­pe­tra­tors of that hor­ri­ble act — that they received jus­tice,” the pres­i­dent said.

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates led a trib­ute at the Pen­ta­gon Memo­r­i­al with a wreath lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny. Biden, with Gates and about 100 oth­er guests look­ing on, placed a large, white flo­ral wreath — made most­ly of white lilies and car­na­tions inter­spersed with red, white and blue rib­bons — on a met­al stand direct­ly in front of a stone on the west­ern wing of the Pen­ta­gon, near the site where Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 77 crashed into the defense department’s head­quar­ters.

The stone is inscribed with the words “Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001” in hon­or of the 184 peo­ple killed in the Pen­ta­gon and on Flight 77.

After Biden placed the wreath, a mil­i­tary bugler played “Taps.” Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III, Navy Sec­re­tary Ray Mabus, Vice Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Janet Napoli­tano and Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, were among the attend­ing dig­ni­taries.

Also, sev­er­al mem­bers of the Arling­ton Coun­ty Fire Depart­ment who were among the first respon­ders at the Pen­ta­gon on Sept. 11, 2001, were present.

Nei­ther Biden nor Gates made remarks, but they met with sev­er­al sur­vivors and rel­a­tives of sur­vivors of the Pen­ta­gon attack as well as rel­a­tives of vic­tims of the 2000 USS Cole attack in Yemen.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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