In a commemorative event at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder called on an audience of several hundred employees to remember “the nearly 3,000 innocent people whose lives were lost” and to pay tribute to the 72 law enforcement officers who were killed trying to save others.
Obama opened the day with a somber remembrance at the White House. The searing memory of death and destruction brought him to the South Lawn for a moment of silence and reflection a dozen years after terrorists emblazoned this date indelibly in people’s minds, hearts and calendars as “9/11.”
Along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden, the president walked out of the White House to the lawn at 8:46 a.m., EDT — the moment on Sept. 11, 2001, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower in New York.
Obama and staff assembled there with him bowed their heads to observe a moment of silence, and then listened as a bugler played “Taps.”
Later Obama visited Food & Friends, a Washington charity that delivers meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. He donned an apron and a baseball cap with the charity’s logo and packed apples, bananas and pre-wrapped sandwiches as part of a volunteer assembly line.
Obamas said Sept. 11 is an occasion not just to remember the victims of the terrorist attack, but for “neighbors helping neighbors.”
He encouraged Americans to “look for a way to volunteer in your own community.”