Leaders of Congress Remember 9/11 on Capitol Steps | New policies


By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional leaders on Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, observing a minute of silence at the United States Capitol as they recalled that brief moment when national unity prevailed over the political discord.

The top four Republicans and Democrats in Congress honored the thousands of lives lost that day in New York and Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the country “suffered a loss we could not imagine and witnessed terrorism we could never forget” when terrorists crashed planes into the towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

The leaders spoke on the steps of the east facade of the Capitol, the same place where lawmakers closed their arms on the evening of September 11, 2001 and sang “God Bless America.” It is also the place where insurgents violently broke into the Capitol building in January in an attempt to block President Joe Biden’s certification of victory – a domestic attack that has further alienated Republicans and Democrats, unlike the unity that Congress found after September 9. 11.

Although the leaders did not speak about the January 6 insurgency or the current political tensions, they returned to a time when the nation found a common goal.

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“We were united, united, proud to be Americans,” said Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy. “We hoisted the American flag in homes across the country to honor first responders who lost their lives and to celebrate eternal American values ​​that a cowardly act of terror could not quench. It is a record of how a dark hour in American history has become one of our finest hours. “

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said the country assured after 9/11 that “our unity and determination run deeper than our sadness,” adding that Americans who said such an attack should not never happen again should “remember what it takes to keep that promise.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said “It has been a long road since 9/11 and our country has changed in ways we could hardly have imagined at the time.”

Yet Schumer said: “One thing does not change: our obligation to remember and honor every American we lost that day.”

The ceremony comes as Capitol Police prepare for a rally on Saturday to defend insurgents who have been charged after the Jan.6 attack. The area where lawmakers stood on Monday morning will soon be fenced off to secure the building – and keep the public out – in case the protest turns violent.

Many Republicans in Congress downplayed the seriousness of the January siege by supporters of former President Donald Trump, opposing inquiries into the attack and supporting Trump as he repeats lies about voter fraud. It is uncertain whether lawmakers will attend Saturday’s rally, as several did on January 6.

Although congressional leaders avoided direct comparisons, former President George W. Bush – who was in power on 9/11 – made a direct connection between today’s domestic terrorism and the foreign terrorism that has plagued America at the time.

Speaking at the National Memorial to the victims of Flight 93, who forced their hijacked plane into a field near Shanksville, Pa., On Saturday before it could be used as a weapon in Washington, Bush warned against “the violence that gathers inside”.

“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” he said. “But in their contempt for pluralism, in their contempt for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same filthy spirit. And it is our permanent duty to confront them.

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