President Donald Trump led a national moment of silence on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Monday, the first commemoration for a New York native who has described the destruction of the Twin Towers as a defining event in his political life.
At the White House, Trump and Melania Trump, the first lady, marked the moment, 8:46 a.m., when the first airliner struck one of the towers, leading to a catastrophic collapse that killed nearly 3,000 people, 343 of them New York City firefighters.
The first couple walked out of the White House at 8:45 a.m. A minute later, a bell tolled as they stood near a group of White House staffers and invited guests who bowed their heads as a Marine trumpeter played taps. The president and first lady placed their hands over their hearts and walked silently back into the residence at 8:48 a.m.
A short time later, during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Donald Trump said, “Though we can never erase your pain or bring back those you lost, we can honor their sacrifice by pledging our resolve to do whatever we must to keep our people safe.” He was joined by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“On that day not only did the world change, but we all changed,” Trump said. “Our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we faced, but in that hour of darkness we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked so small, our common bonds never felt so strong.”
Trump said the country was…
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