Vice President Joe Biden drew on the sorrow of his own personal losses as he addressed the memorial marking 11 years since United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
“It is a bittersweet moment for the entire nation,” Biden told families, friends and dignitaries gathered at the memorial to the 40 passengers and crew who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
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“We wish we didn’t have to be here, wish we didn’t have to commemorate any of this,” he said, drawing on his own sudden loss, when his first wife and young daughter just before Christmas in 1972.
“I … know from my own experience that today is just as momentous a day for all of you, just as momentous day in your life, each of your families, as every September 11th has been, regardless of the anniversary,” he said. “For no matter how many anniversaries you experience, for at least an instant, the terror of that moment returns, the lingering moment of that phone call, the sense of total disbelief that envelops you. You feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest.”