Remembering 9/11/01: Twenty years later, solemn ceremonies are separated by politics

AP Photo/Doug Mills

It’s hard to believe that twenty years have passed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. It is a day that is impossible to forget. As Americans gather to commemorate the day and grieving families once again find comfort in being together, something odd struck me as the ceremony in lower Manhattan was on my television screen. The cameras went to politicians there and all I saw were Democrats. Are our political divisions so deep today that politicians can’t even come together on a day like this?

President Biden and Jill, former President Obama and Michelle, and former President Clinton and Hillary were all shown on camera. Absent were the other former presidents who are physically able to make the trip and attend a long ceremony – I think former President Carter and Rosalyn are now too frail. Neither George W. Bush nor Donald Trump was at the commemoration in Manhattan. It seems like a lost opportunity, at least symbolically, for all the former presidents and Biden to be seen together, putting aside politics and just show respect for the victims and their families. Instead, it is reported that Biden will visit both Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon after the first ceremony. George W. Bush is set to make a speech in Shanksville. Trump said Friday that he will visit the memorial in New York later on Saturday. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is on the list provided by the White House but I haven’t seen him in the coverage. He is reported to have said that Biden shouldn’t go to New York City because of his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Giuliani became America’s Mayor on 9/11/01.

Trump released a video with some remarks. He blasted Biden for his mishandling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Almost 1800 Americans asked that Biden not come to the NYC ceremony this year unless he released classified documents from that attack. They are particularly interested in any Saudi involvement in the attacks.

Biden avoided some additional awkwardness at Saturday’s ceremony by signing an executive order that ordered a review of the classified documents related to the attack – something 9/11 families, first responders and survivors have demanded.

The president had been told by nearly 1,800 Americans impacted by the terror attacks last month not to come to any of the 20th anniversary events unless he declassified documents that potentially show Saudi government links to the September 11, 2001 hijackers.

Biden’s order makes no mention of Saudi Arabia.

‘When I ran for president, I made a commitment to ensuring transparency regarding the declassification of documents on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘As we approach the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, I am honoring that commitment.’

‘Today, I signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to oversee a declassification review of documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s September 11th investigations. The executive order requires the Attorney General to release the declassified documents publicly over the next six months,’ Biden said in a statement last Friday.

If the demand had not been made, would Biden have declassified the documents? We know he can’t be trusted so color me skeptical. He wanted to avoid any protests today.

Jazz wrote about international unity and the lack of it in our battle against terrorism. He’s right. We do seem to have support from Buckingham Palace today.

In Biden’s televised speech, he spoke briefly about unity. Unfortunately, he has no credibility in talking about unity. He divides us at every turn, whether it is pitting vaccinated Americans against unvaccinated Americans or red states versus blue states on election integrity reform. He’s divided us over the withdrawal from Afghanistan, too. Most Americans were ready for the U.S. to withdraw but not in the way it was done. Biden disgraced the United States and ignored our allies.

Kamala Harris and her husband will be in Shanksville, joining Biden and Bush. Then she will go to the Pentagon with Biden.

As mentioned above, it just seems like an opportunity was missed today. Real unity could have been seen if all the former presidents, including Trump, had appeared with Biden at Ground Zero. Today shouldn’t be about politics but about being an American. Partisan politics were briefly set aside this day in 2001. It’s a loss for all of us that it isn’t being done today.