Across the nation, Americans paid tribute to lost loved ones who perished in the terror attacks 12 years ago.
In Washington, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden walked out to the White House’s South Lawn for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. — the time the first plane struck the south tower in New York. Another jetliner struck the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.
“Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been,” Obama said.
A moment of silence was also held at the U.S. Capitol. On the memorial plaza in New York City that overlooks two reflecting pools in the imprint of the twin towers, relatives recited the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died when hijacked jets crashed into the towers, the Pentagon and in a field near Shanksville, Pa. They also recognized the victims of the 1993 trade center bombing.
Bells tolled to mark the planes hitting the towers and the moments when the skyscrapers fell.
In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock ordered all flags flown at half-staff on Wednesday to honor the individuals who lost their lives on Sept.11, 2001 and for Patriot Day and National Day of Service.
The state’s three lawmakers also issued statements reflecting on the anniversary.
Sen. Max Baucus
“Twelve years after 9/11, we have a responsibility to honor the lives lost, the heroes made and the sacrifices taken by working together to ensure America continues to be the strongest nation on earth, and Americans continue to have the opportunity to work hard and succeed.
“As we remember the pain and grief of that day, I encourage us to also remember the profound sense of unity and patriotism that followed. With our country under attack, more Montanans volunteered to serve in the military per capita than any other state in the country. And since then, dozens of Montanans have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms. It’s our responsibility to work together to tackle the tough challenges facing us today and build an even stronger America worthy of their sacrifices.
“Mel and my prayers are with the families of those killed, and we join all Montanans in sending our gratitude to all of our military troops, police and firefighters who continue to serve.”
Sen. Jon Tester
“Twelve years later, Sept. 11 remains a day never to forget.
Today is also a day to thank and remember our service members, veterans, firefighters, police officers and emergency responders. Their heroism on Sept. 11 and in the days and years after remain an inspiration to us all.
I encourage all Montanans today to take a moment to reflect on where we have come as a nation and where we must go. And let us always cherish our freedoms and values that make the United States the greatest nation on Earth.”
Congressman Steve Daines
“Today, I join all Montanans in remembering and honoring those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Twelve years later, may we continue to honor the memories of our fallen Americans, the hearts of their loved ones left behind and the courage that was shown on this tragic day. We also recognize the heroism of the firemen, first responders and bystanders who risked everything for those in harm’s way and honor our military men and women across the globe that have stood vigilant since that fateful day and continuously fight to ensure our nation’s security. These men and women show the strength and perseverance of this nation, which remains unshaken in the face of the challenges and loss that have come our way. We are united, we are Americans, and we will never forget Sept. 11.
“We also honor the memory of the four Americans lost in last year’s terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. As we continue to seek answers about these attacks and justice for the perpetrators, we are reminded of the persistent threat of terrorism that still exists today. May we always remember Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and honor all Americans who lost their lives in service to our country and in protection of our freedom.”
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