Live updates: Biden visits Shanksville, Pa. fire company
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President Donald Trump spoke today at the Flight 93 Remembrance Ceremony on Friday.
He was joined by Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt and other dignitaries at the service that will be closed to the public.
The event was livestreamed through EarthCam and is available at https://www.flight93friends.org/.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden visited the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department around 2 p.m. to thank first responders.
During his 15-minute stop, he spoke to the 40 to 50 gathered at the fire hall.
And he brought beer.
During his last visit to the fire company, after a Flight 93 memorial service, when he was vice president, he told firefighters he owed them a beer for their service. He made good on that.
"I keep my promises," he said.
Biden spoke to 10-year-old Justin Kimmel of Jennerstown. "I like him," said the youngster. So does his mom, Jennifer, who said Biden speaks from the heart.
- Judy Ellich
President Donald Trump said it is the duty of Americans to never forget the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
Trump attended the Friday morning ceremony to honor the passengers and crew of United Flight 93, which is believed to have been heading to Washington, D.C.
“Nothing could have prepared them for the dreadful events that morning,” he said. “But when the moment came and history called, they did not hesitate, they did not waver,” he said.
Trump told the families that he and first lady Melania Trump are aware that they cannot fill the void in their heart or erase the sorrow of that day.
“While we cannot erase your pain we can help shoulder your burden,” he said.
Trump said that the terrorists aboard Flight 93 were focused on the Capitol. "They were just 20 minutes away from reaching their sinister objective.”
Trump said that first responders ran “into the fires of Hell” on Sept. 11, 2001. About 400 first responders, 343 of them being firefighters New York City firefighters, lost their lives on that day responding to the the acts of terrorism.
“Today we honor their extraordinary sacrifice in every first responder that keeps America safe.”
Trump also said that American will “never relent in pursuing terrorists.’
“We express our undying loyalty to nearly 6 million men and women who enlisted in the United States Armed Forces since Sept. 11, 2001.
Trump talked about the local community, honoring Chuck Wagner, who searched for the black box in the aftermath of Flight 93 and is credited with starting the Flight 93 ambassador program.
“Here in Shanksville, this community locked arms and hearts,” he said.
Trump said it is the duty of all Americans to never forget and to honor the sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Forty intrepid souls died as true heroes,” he said. “Their momentous deeds will outlive us all.”
- Michelle Ganassi
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and other speakers arrive at 9:45 as the ceremony began.
Superintendent Stephen Clark said, "Their sacrifices that morning saved an untold number of lives."
"We honor your loved ones' sacrifices and we will be eternally grateful," added Clark.
The names of the 40 passengers and crews are being read followed by the Bells of Remembrance.
Retired FBI Special Agents Andrew Dammann and Roy Cavan ring the bells as retired Flight 93 National Memorial Chief of Interpretation MaryJane Hartman reads the names.
Ed Root, Cousin of Flight Attendant Lorraine Bay and Families of Flight 93 offered remarks on behalf of the family. “All of us of a certain age certainly remember that September morning that changed our collective lives.”
“The memories of our loved ones linger. It is our responsibility as a nation to see that these actions are remembered,” he said.
- Michelle Ganassi
President Donald Trump landed at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Friday on his way to the 19th anniversary remembrance ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Disembarking at 9 a.m. from Air Force One, Trump, along with First Lady Melania Trump, will be part of a private service in Stonycreek Township honoring the 40 Passengers and crew members of Flight 93. Trump previously spoke at the memorial in 2018.
Trump did not speak to local press before heading to the memorial.
"With a day as solemn as 9/11 is, it was an honor to meet the president," Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Dill, based out of Johnstown and one of three service members to meet the president, said.
Trump will be joined by several national, state and county officials for the ceremony, including county Commissioner Colleen Dawson.
"We are honored to have President Trump here in America's County again, as we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11 nineteen years ago," she said.
- Matthew Toth
Republican U.S. Rep. John Joyce, whose district includes Stonycreek Township, is the only member of the Homeland Security committee attending today’s event.
Joyce said before the event that it is important for him as the representative of the area to be in attendance.
“These are our heroes,” he said. “If the plane had traveled seconds further it could have landed in a local high school.”
Joyce is with U.S. reps. Dan Meuser and Glenn 'GT' Thompson. Joyce said that he is happy President Donald Trump is attending the ceremony and offering remarks.
“These heroes were chosen by the moment and in that moment they all stepped up,” he said.
Joyce said that despite the event being closed to the public, the heroes will still be honored.
“The COVID virus will not stop us,” he said. “We will be wearing masks, we will be social distancing.”
- Michelle Ganassi
Around 8 a.m., family members and dignitaries began arriving at the Flight 93 National Memorial. Friday’s service will be held at the wall of names.
- Michelle Ganassi
“After consulting with the U.S. Office of Public Health and the Families of Flight 93, I believe this closure will minimize overcrowding and allow for a safe Memorial observance during this unprecedented time,” said Flight 93 National Memorial Superintendent Stephen M. Clark.
Both Trump and Biden have attended the remembrance ceremony in the past. Trump spoke at the 2018 ceremony with Vice President Mike Pence offering remarks in 2019. Biden attended two ceremonies during his tenure as vice president.
We will never forget the lives lost on September 11th at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. USA TODAY