President Joe Biden has decided to break with long-held tradition this year. For the upcoming 22nd anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks, Biden will not be joining the observances held in New York City, Pennsylvania, or Virginia. Instead, he’s chosen to commemorate this pivotal moment in American history from an Alaska military base.
Biden’s choice to attend the 9/11 observance at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage will mark a presidential first. No other president, since the catastrophic events of 2001, has opted out of the yearly ceremonies held at the primary attack sites.
It’s worth noting that Biden’s detour to Alaska isn’t without reason. The observance will serve as a brief pause on his journey back to Washington, following a summit in New Delhi and a visit to Vietnam on September 10.
While President Biden will be in Alaska, Vice President Kamala Harris, accompanied by her husband Doug Emhoff, will represent the administration at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan. Meanwhile, First Lady Jill Biden is set to lay a wreath at the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial.
The events of September 11, 2001, remain deeply etched in the American consciousness. The day saw terrorists hijacking planes, leading to the devastating crashes at the Twin Towers, and the Pentagon, and a courageous passenger-led rebellion in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The aftermath was heart-wrenching: nearly 3,000 lives were lost.
Back in 2001, Biden was serving as a U.S. senator. Given his political tenure and the significance of the attacks in shaping the country’s future, it’s surprising for many that he’s taking a different path in observing this important anniversary.
Yet, the White House has remained silent on who will be present at the Pennsylvania observance. It’s a subtle reminder that while traditions are significant, every administration may choose its own path in honoring such crucial moments in our history.