Jill Biden on Monday laid a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon to honor the 185 people who died there during the September 11th attacks.
The first lady was joined by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. It was her first public appearance since she tested positive for COVID last week. She tested negative on Thursday.
Jill Biden was one of the many administration officials joining the remembrance cermonies taking place throughout the country to mark the 22nd anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in American history.
She was there to represent President Joe Biden, who spent the anniversary thousands of miles from the site of ground zero, in Alaska. Vice President Kamala Harris represented the administration in New York at Ground Zero and second gentleman Doug Emhoff was at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
’22 years ago today, the horror of 9/11 changed us all in some way,’ she said later Monday at a second event. ‘We must always remember those lost that day and in the aftermath. And we will keep their families, always in our hearts. We stand with them today and every day.’
Jill Biden folds her hands in prayer before the wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon
Jill Biden and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley at the Pentagon
She laid the wreath at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, a permanent outdoor memorial to the 184 people who died in the building and on American Airlines Flight 77, which struck the west side of the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks.
She wore a black dress and was greeted by Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chief Chairman Mark Milley and Mrs. Holly Anne Milley.
Biden touched the wreath and folder her hands in prayer before it. Then she stood with her hand over her heart, as a lone trumphet played Taps. Gen. Milley and Secretary Austin saluted.
She then went to greet the about 80 people who were present to watch the wreath laying. She spoke briefly to the crowd and went down the rope line to shake hands.
Earlier on Monday, officials unfurled US flag on the west side of the Pentagon – the same site where one of the hijacked planes struck.
Every year a ceremony is held at Ground Zero to honor the nearly 3,000 killed on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Jill Biden stands with her hand over her heart, as a lone trumphet played Taps. Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin saluted
Jill Biden shakes hands with those at the ceremony
Jill Biden with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (left) and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley (right)
President Joe Biden marked 9/11 in Alaska with Maj. Gen. BrianÂ Eifler, Commanding General, 11th Airborne Division, right, and Chief Master Sgt. Amy Miller, U.S. Air Force, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
Jill Biden hugs Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
Jill Biden at a wreath laying at the Pentagon
Laying a wreath in Shanksville are Pennsylvania First Lady Lori Shapiro, Gov. Josh Shapiro, Deborah Borza (mother of Flight 93 victim Deora Frances Bodley), Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and park ranger David M.Schmitt
Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff walks along the Wall of Names with Deborah Borza, mother of crash victim Deora Frances Bodley, as she kisses the wall
Meanwhile, the president has faced criticism from 9/11 families for his absence at the one of the major spots of the deadliest terrorist attack in American history.
Biden’s scheduled stop in Alaska marks the first time a president has not attended one of the anniversary services at Ground Zero, the Pentagon or in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – or at least hosted a memorial service at the White House, which Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama each did during one year of their terms in office.
Biden marked the occassion in Alaska, where he is scheduled to be on the ground for less than two hours. He’s at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where he’s stopping on the way home from a trip to India and Vietnam.
Traditionally presidents spend 9/11 at one of the three locations where planes crashed and killed 2,977 Americans or host a ceremony at the White House.
But Biden is on a military base that is 4,362 miles away from Ground Zero.
In total, six moments of silence were observed on Monday – commemorating when each of the towers was struck and collapsed, as well as the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Flight 93.
The first was held after the tolling of the bells at 8:46am, which marks the beginning of the attacks – when hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower. The impact killed all 92 on board.
At 9:03am, a second moment of silence was held – marking when hijackers deliberately crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 77 through 85 of the South Tower – leaving no doubt in any New Yorkers’ mind at the time that the attacks were planned and malicious in nature.
Vice Presidnt Kamala Harris places her hand over her heart during the National Anthem at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City on Monday. She stood alongside Mayor Eric Adams (left) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (right) during the service
The next was at 9:37am, when another group of terrorists deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, just outside the nation’s capital.
A fourth moment of silence cane at 9:59am to mark the moment the South Tower, the second train to be hit, collapsed, with another four minutes later – to mark the moment passengers on United 93 heroically stormed the cockpit in a bid to retake the plane from their attackers.
In response, the hijackers crashed the plane into an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania – likely saving many lives, as many theorized the plane’s target was either the White House or the Capitol.
The final moment of silent mourning came at 10:28 am – the time that The North Tower collapsed, leaving the 16-acre World Trade Center site in ruins and the collective US consciousness in tatters.
Harris was at Ground Zero in New York. She didn’t speak but was present when the first bell was rang and listened to some of the readings of the names of the dead.