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Joe Biden will be the first president in 22 years not to mark 9/11 anniversary at one of the attack scenes

 August 29, 2023

On the upcoming 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11th terror attacks, President Joe Biden has chosen a different route to commemorate the occasion. 

Rather than visiting one of the historic 9/11 sites in New York, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, Biden will be honoring the day with service members in Alaska, as the Daily Mail reported.

This marks the first time a sitting U.S. president will observe the poignant anniversary away from the immediate scenes of the attacks.

Biden's Previous 9/11 Observances

In prior years, Biden observed the anniversary at the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He's also been present at Ground Zero events in New York.

Since the tragic day when nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, it's been customary for U.S. presidents to travel to these sites in remembrance of the harrowing human loss.

Last year at the Pentagon, Biden remarked, "Twenty-one years, and still we kept our promise: Never Forget. We'll keep the memory of all those precious lives stolen from — from us: 2,977 — at Ground Zero in New York; in Shanksville, where my wife is speaking now — in Pennsylvania; 184 of them here at the Pentagon."

Other Officials Commemorate

While Biden's location might differ this year, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will be in New York for the anniversary.

First Lady Jill Biden will pay her respects at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.

The tragic events of that day saw the loss of 64 lives on American Airlines Flight 77 and an additional 125 in the Pentagon.

As of now, the White House has not specified any plans for Pennsylvania.

International Relations in Focus

Biden's visit to Alaska will be on his return route from the G20 summit in India, followed by a strategic stop in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The White House recently disclosed Biden's plans to meet with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of Vietnam, focusing on technological innovation, strengthening people connections, climate change solutions, and promoting regional peace and prosperity.

An agreement is expected to be inked, recognizing Vietnam as a "strategic partner," which would pave the way for more in-depth cooperation in various domains, especially technology, Politico reported. 

However, when White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was questioned about the possibility of Biden addressing human rights issues in Hanoi, she avoided a direct answer.

Biden's visit signifies the growing bond between the U.S. and Vietnam despite the shadows of the Vietnam War. Historically, Vietnam and China have shared tense relations. 

Alaskan Memorial Ceremony

The main event in Alaska will be held at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, a common refueling stop for presidents en route to Asia.

Biden plans to "participate in a memorial ceremony with members of the military and their families," as revealed by the White House.