The former first lady, who participated in memorials of the event with her husband and the Clintons and Bidens, shared her memories of the fateful day.
This weekend marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and as public figures across the country reflected on the sobering moment in history, former first lady Michelle Obama shared her own story about where she and her daughters were when they found out about the terrorist attack in New York.
“I remember taking her photo, dropping her off for the very first time, and feeling those pangs of separation from my baby,” Obama wrote Saturday about that fateful day in 2001 when she was living in Chicago with her husband Barack and taking her eldest daughter Malia to her first day of nursery school.
“I’d just buckled newborn Sasha into her car seat and was driving back home when I heard the news on the radio—and the uncertainty and anxiety set in almost immediately. What was happening? Had the world just changed? What kind of future were our girls going to enter?”
“Each of us, if we were old enough at the time, has our own story from that day. It’s a snapshot—a time capsule—back to a different moment for all of us,” she continued in the heartfelt post. “For those who lost loved ones, it’s especially painful to relive. My heart goes out to all those for whom this wasn’t just a national tragedy, but a personal one.”
“So today, I hope you’ll take an extra moment to mourn, to reflect, and most of all, to remember,” she encouraged. “It’s up to all of us to make sure that we’re honoring all those memories that come rushing back by living lives that reflect not just the trauma of that day, but the best that was on display, too: our kindness and compassion, our courage and resilience. They’re the values that lifted us up twenty years ago. And I hope they can guide us all, not just on an anniversary like this, but every single day.”
A call for unity
As we previously reported, Saturday President Joe Biden also paid tribute at three hallowed places of grief and remembrance to honor the lives lost two decades ago in the 9/11 terror attacks.
The solemn day of commemoration offered frequent reminders for Americans of a time when they united in the face of unimaginable tragedy. That fading spirit of 9/11 was invoked most forcefully by the president at the time of the attacks, George W. Bush, who said, “That is the America I know,” in stark contrast to the bitterly divided nation Biden now leads.
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden, Jill Biden, and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg at the 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum on Sept. 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Biden left the speech-making to others, paying his respects at the trio of sites in New York, Pennsylvania and outside Washington where four hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people, shattering the nation’s sense of security and launching the country into two decades of warfare.
Biden wiped away a tear as he stood in silence at the site where the World Trade Center towers fell, and looked up at the haunting sound of a jet plane under clear blue skies reminiscent of that fateful day.
While delivering Bud Light and appreciation to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to the crash of United Flight 93, Biden praised Bush’s comments in his only public remarks of the day, saying the Republican “made a really good speech today — genuinely,” and wondered aloud what those who died that day would think of the current political divisiveness.
Gesturing to a cross-shaped memorial made of steel from the twin towers adjacent to the firehouse, Biden reflected: “I’m thinking what, what would the people who died, what would they be thinking. Would they think this makes sense for us to be doing this kind of thing where you ride down the street and someone has a sign saying ‘f- so-and-so?’”
U.S. President Joe Biden walks through the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial following a wreath-laying ceremony on Sept. 11, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
It was a reference to an explicit sign attacking Biden last week in New Jersey as he toured storm damage that was displayed by supporters of former president Donald Trump. Biden expressed incredulity at recent comments by Trump, whom he accused of abandoning the nation’s ideals during his time in office.
“Everyone says, ‘Biden, why do you keep insisting on trying to bring the country together?”’ the president told reporters. “That’s the thing that’s going to affect our well-being more than anything else.”
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