World leaders sent messages of solidarity Saturday on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, saying the attackers had failed to destroy Western values.
Here are a few reactions:
“We can now say with the perspective of 20 years that they (the jihadists) failed to shake our belief in freedom and democracy,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“They failed to drive our nations apart, or cause us to abandon our values, or to live in permanent fear.”
Queen Elizabeth II, in a separate message, said: “My thoughts and prayers – and those of my family and the entire nation — remain with the victims, survivors and families affected.”
“On 9/11 we remember those who lost their lives and honour those who risked everything to help them. Even in the darkest, most trying of times, the very best of human nature can shine through,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.
“The horrific attacks of #September11 20 years ago changed the course of history. We remember the victims and noble sacrifice of so many first responders and aid workers. The EU stands by the US and @POTUS in the continued fight against terrorism and extremism in all its forms,” tweeted European Council head Charles Michel.
“September 11 reminded us that freedom is always fragile. As Ronald Reagan said, it ‘must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an opinion piece.
“That day was an attack on free peoples everywhere. It was an attack on our way of life and the values of liberal democracy. Despite the pain inflicted on that day, the terrorists ultimately failed in their attempts to crush our resolve and change our way of life.”
“We will #NeverForget. We will always fight for freedom,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
“The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001 had a profound impact on global politics… Affirming the unconditional rejection of terrorism everywhere and always, Swiss President @ParmelinG expresses his solidarity with all of its victims,” the government spokesman said in a message.
“Italy stands in solidarity with the United States and its other allies to counter any terrorist threat,” President Sergio Materrella said.
What Is 9/11?
The September 11 attacks, also commonly referred to as 9/11,were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the militant Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States of America on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
On that morning, four commercial airliners traveling from the northeastern United States to California were hijacked mid-flight by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists.
The hijackers were organized into three groups of five hijackers and one group of four. Each group had one hijacker who had received flight training and took over control of the aircraft. Their explicit goal was to crash each plane into a prominent American building, causing mass casualties and partial or complete destruction of the targeted buildings.
The first plane to hit its target was American Airlines Flight 11. It was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan at 8:46 am. Seventeen minutes later at 9:03 am, the World Trade Center’s South Tower was hit by United Airlines Flight 175. Both 110-story towers collapsed within an hour and forty-two minutes, leading to the collapse of the other World Trade Center structures including 7 World Trade Center, and significantly damaging surrounding buildings.
A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, flown from Dulles International Airport, was hijacked over Ohio. At 9:37 am, it crashed into the west side of the Pentagon (the headquarters of the American military) in Arlington County, Virginia, causing a partial collapse of the building’s side.
The fourth, and final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was flown in the direction of Washington, D.C. The plane’s passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft away from the hijackers and ultimately diverted the flight from its intended target; it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 am. Investigators determined that Flight 93’s target was either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, suspicion quickly fell onto al-Qaeda. The United States formally responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had not complied with U.S. demands to expel al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and extradite al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden escaped to the White Mountains where he came under attack by U.S.-led forces, but managed to breakout. Although Bin Laden initially denied any involvement, in 2004 he formally claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives. After evading capture for almost a decade, Bin Laden was located in a hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan and subsequently killed during Operation Neptune Spear.