Family members of the 9/11 victims have called on President Joe Biden to stay away from memorial events unless he declassifies files about the attacks.
Nearly 1,800 people signed a letter calling on President Biden to release documents that they believe implicate officials from Saudi Arabia in the plot.
They say that if he refuses, the president should not attend ceremonies next month to commemorate the 20th anniversary.
Nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11 terror attacks.
According to the investigators, the attacks were committed by the Al Qaeda terror group and triggered the US invasion of Afghanistan. Fifteen of the 19 plane hijackers were Saudi nationals.
“We cannot in good faith, and with veneration to those lost, sick, and injured, welcome the president to our hallowed grounds until he fulfils his commitment,” says the letter from family members, first responders and survivors.
They call on President Biden to stay away from the three sites where the attacks took place – in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The families have long argued that Saudi officials had advance knowledge of the attack, and did nothing to stop it. They have sued the government of Saudi Arabia, which has denied being involved.
Last month, the lawsuit saw several top former Saudi officials questioned under oath. The depositions remain sealed, further upsetting families.
“Since the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission in 2004 much investigative evidence has been uncovered implicating Saudi government officials in supporting the attacks,” the families’ statement continues.
“Through multiple administrations, the Department of Justice and the FBI have actively sought to keep this information secret and prevent the American people from learning the full truth about the 9/11 attacks.”
The administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump also declined to declassify the documents, citing national security concerns.
“Twenty years later, there is simply no reason – unmerited claims of ‘national security’ or otherwise – to keep this information secret,” the group writes.
“But if President Biden reneges on his commitment and sides with the Saudi government, we would be compelled to publicly stand in objection to any participation by his administration in any memorial ceremony of 9/11.”
America remembers 10 years from September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
This weekend has been dedicated to remembrance, with hundreds of ceremonies across the country and around the globe.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were among guests at dedication in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, of memorial to Flight 93 hijackers on Saturday.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were among guests at dedication in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, of memorial to Flight 93 hijackers on Saturday
Other memorials are planned for Sunday in New York,such as a memorial mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and Washington D.C. as nation mourns the almost 3,000 victims.
Former president George W. Bush has praised the 40 passengers and crew who fought back against their Flight 93 hijackers on 9/11 for carrying out what he described as one of the most courageous acts in U.S. history.
Saturday, former president George W. Bush was at the ceremony dedicating a memorial at the nation’s newest national park in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as the U.S. marks the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks.
Americans will also come together on Sunday where the World Trade Center soared in Manhattan, New York, and in Washington D.C. where the Pentagon now stands as a fortress once breached.
The World Trade Centre ceremony in New York begins at 8:30 am local time, with a moment of silence 16 minutes later - coinciding with the exact time when the first tower was struck by a hijacked jet
Other ceremonies wil take place on Sunday at the Pentagon and in lower Manhattan for the dedication of the national September 11 memorial.
President Barack Obama planned to attend ceremonies at both sites, as well as the Pennsylvania memorial, and was scheduled to speak at a Sunday evening service at the Kennedy Center.
The World Trade Centre ceremony in New York begins at 8:30 am local time, with a moment of silence 16 minutes later – coinciding with the exact time when the first tower was struck by a hijacked jet.
After this moment, there will be the reading of names of the 2,977 people killed on September 11 – in New York, at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania.
The "Tribute in Lights" could be seen in New York on Saturday night, shining into the sky as a mark of remembrance of the World Trade Centre Twin Towers
The “Tribute in Lights” could be seen in New York on Saturday night, shining into the sky as a mark of remembrance of the World Trade Centre Twin Towers.
Americans will come together on Sunday where the World Trade Center soared in Manhattan, New York
At Shanksville, Pennsylvania memorial, George W. Bush said the Flight 93 cockpit storming “ranks among the most courageous acts in American history” and former president Bill Clinton said the passengers and crew were “ordinary people given no time at all to decide” what to do.
Bill Clinton likened the actions of those aboard Flight 93 to the defenders of the Alamo in Texas or the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae some 2,500 years ago, who knew they were going to die.
“They gave the entire country an incalculable gift,” Bill Clinton said.
“They saved the capital from attack and avoided Al Qaeda’s a symbolic victory of smashing the centre of American government.”
The speeches of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton drew standing ovations and loud cheers from the ceremony which drew about 5,000 people, including 4,000 invited guests including the victims’ families.
Vice President Joe Biden was on hand to unveil the Wall of Names at the memorial – a set of 40 marble slabs, each inscribed with the name of a passenger or crew member who died.
Former first lady Laura Bush and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Biden, were both seen to wipe tears away at the ceremony.
“The moment America’s democracy was under attack our citizens defied their captors by holding a vote,” George W. Bush said, referring to when those on the plane decided to try to overpower the hijackers.
“The choice they made would cost them their lives,” he added.
George W. Bush was joined at the ceremony by the Reverend Daniel Coughlin, who was the U.S. House chaplain at the time of the attacks.
On Sunday Americans will gather to pray in cathedrals, lay roses before fire stations and remember the anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attacks since the nation’s founding.
President Barack Obama has already been paying tribute to America’s resilience and the sacrifice of its war, after he made a pilgrimage to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Saturday.
Barack Obama was seen strolling with his wife, Michelle, among graves filled with dead from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars
Barack Obama was seen strolling with his wife, Michelle, among graves filled with dead from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars – and said the U.S. cannot be broken by terrorism “no matter what comes our way”.
“The terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values,” Barack Obama said in a weekly address.
Barack Obama was a little-known state senator in Illinois at the time of the attacks, but now has the responsibility to help lead the nation in remembrance of a trauma 10 years on.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who gave the weekly Republican address, said the terrorists achieved their goal of killing Americans, but failed to destroy the U.S. spirit.
“The country was not broken, but rather, it was more united in the days after September 11 than at any time in my lifetime,” Rudy Giuliani said.
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