WASHINGTON-President Joe Biden will visit all three 9/11 memorials to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died that day.
The White House said on Saturday that Biden will visit Zero Ground in New York City, the Pentagon and the memorial outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Flight 93 was forced to land. First lady Jill Biden will accompany him.
The White House stated that Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Shanksville, Pennsylvania to participate in a separate event, and then meet with the president at the Pentagon. Harris will travel with her spouse Doug Emhoff.
Biden’s itinerary is similar to that of President Obama on the 10th anniversary of the 2011 attacks. Obama’s visit to New York City coincided with the opening of the monument where the two World Trade Center towers once stood.
Next Saturday’s anniversary is less than two weeks after the end of the nearly two-year war in Afghanistan. The war was launched a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks. The purpose was to retaliate against al-Qaeda planners and the Taliban, who provided them with a safe haven.
Biden received public support for ending the conflict, but due to the chaotic withdrawal of American troops and Allied Afghans in the last two weeks of August, he was sharply criticized even by allies.
On Friday, Biden instructed to declassify certain documents related to the September 11 attacks in order to show a gesture to the families of victims who have long sought records in the hope of implicating the Saudi government.
Many relatives, survivors and first responders said that if the documents remain confidential, they will oppose Biden’s participation in the 9/11 commemorative event. The conflict between the government and family members over what confidential information can be disclosed became more public last month.