A Proclamation on National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2023
Twenty-two years ago — on September 11, 2001 — 2,977 precious lives were stolen from us in attacks of deliberate evil on our Nation. On the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we come together to renew our sacred vow: Never forget. Never forget the parents, children, spouses, friends, and loved ones we lost that day. Never forget the heroes who stepped up to rescue their fellow Americans and help our communities rebuild in the hours — and years — thereafter. And never forget our obligation to honor their memories and service by building a safer and more secure future for all.
To all the families of the victims who have had to endure the absence of a loved one over the last two decades, I know that 22 years is both a lifetime and no time at all. The very memories that help us heal can also open up the hurt and take us back to the moment the grief was raw — to the moment when a loved one and their dreams were stolen from us in an instant. Today, when that grief feels especially great, the First Lady and I hold you close to our hearts.
We also join all those who are mourning the loss of patriots who stepped up when their country needed them most. My mom believed the greatest virtue of all was courage and that someday the bravery that exists in every heart will be summoned. For many, that day was September 11, 2001. Patriotic citizens and first responders ran into the searing flames and crumbling buildings to save their fellow Americans. And in the years that followed, thousands more served and sacrificed to prevent another attack on the United States.
These brave heroes remind us that — through all that has changed over these last two decades — the enduring resolve of the American people has never wavered. What was destroyed in the attacks, we have repaired. What was threatened, we have fortified. We have never ceased in our mission to defend ourselves against those who seek to do us harm and to deliver justice to those responsible for attacks against our people. And during our darkest hour, we regained our light by finding something all too rare — unity.
Today, the charge left for all of us is to find renewal and resolve in remembrance. For it is not enough to only reflect on the souls we lost on September 11th; we must also continue to build a Nation worthy of their highest aspirations — one that remembers, for all our flaws and disagreements, there is nothing we cannot accomplish when we stand together and defend with all our hearts that which makes us unique in the world: our democracy.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 8, 2023, through September 10, 2023, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States honor the victims of September 11, 2001, and their loved ones with prayer, contemplation, memorial services and visits, bells, candlelight vigils, and other activities. I invite people around the world to join. I call on the citizens of our Nation to give thanks for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, mercy, and protection.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
By a joint resolution approved Dec. 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89) has designated Sept. 11 of each year as "Patriot Day," which also directs the flags be lowered to half-staff for the entire day on Sept. 11.
Below is a timeline of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001:
7:59 am – American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 92 people aboard, takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles.
8:14 am – United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 with 65 people aboard, takes off from Boston; it is also headed to Los Angeles.
8:19 am – Flight attendants aboard Flight 11 alert ground personnel that the plane has been hijacked; American Airlines notifies the FBI.
8:20 am – American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C.The Boeing 757 is headed to Los Angeles with 64 people aboard.
8:24 am – Hijacker Mohammed Atta makes the first of two accidental transmissions from Flight 11 to ground control (apparently in an attempt to communicate with the plane's cabin).
8:40 am – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alerts North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)'s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) about the suspected hijacking of Flight 11. In response, NEADS scrambles two fighter planes located at Cape Cod's Otis Air National Guard Base to locate and tail Flight 11; they are not yet in the air when Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower.
8:41 am – United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 44 people aboard, takes off from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco. It had been scheduled to depart at 8:00 am, around the time of the other hijacked flights.
8:46 am – Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
8:47 am – Within seconds, NYPD and FDNY forces dispatch units to the World Trade Center, while Port Authority Police Department officers on site begin immediate evacuation of the North Tower.
8:50 am – White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card alerts President George W. Bush that a plane has hit the World Trade Center; the president is visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida at the time.
9:02 am – After initially instructing tenants of the WTC's South Tower to remain in the building, Port Authority officials broadcast orders to evacuate both towers via the public address system; an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 people are already in the process of evacuating.
9:03 am – Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC's South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building
9:08 am – The FAA bans all takeoffs of flights going to New York City or through the airspace around the city.
9:21 am – The Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in the New York City area.
9:24 am – The FAA notified NEADS of the suspected hijacking of Flight 77 after some passengers and crew aboard are able to alert family members on the ground.
9:31 am – Speaking from Florida, President Bush calls the events in New York City an "apparent terrorist attack on our country."
9:37 am – Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
9:42 am – For the first time in history, the FAA grounds all flights over or bound for the continental United States. Some 3,300 commercial flights and 1,200 private planes are guided to airports in Canada and the United States over the next two-and-a-half hours.
9:45 am – Amid escalating rumors of other attacks, the White House and U.S. Capitol building are evacuated (along with numerous other high-profile buildings, landmarks and public spaces).
9:59 am – The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:07 am – After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington, they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.
10:28 am – The World Trade Center's North Tower collapses, 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11.
11 am – Mayor Rudolph Giuliani calls for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including more than 1 million residents, workers and tourists, as efforts continue throughout the afternoon to search for survivors at the WTC site.
1 pm – From a U.S. Air Force base in Louisiana, President Bush announces that U.S. military forces are on high alert worldwide.
2:51 pm – The U.S. Navy dispatches missile destroyers to New York and Washington, D.C.
5:20 pm – The 47-story Seven World Trade Center collapses after burning for hours; the building had been evacuated in the morning, and there are no casualties, though the collapse forces rescue workers to flee for their lives.
6:58 pm – President Bush returns to the White House after stops at military bases in Louisiana and Nebraska.
8:30 pm – President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks "evil, despicable acts of terror" and declaring that America, its friends and allies would "stand together to win the war against terrorism."