Ceremony in Ottawa commemorates 20th anniversary of September 11 terrorist attacks



A moment of silence was followed by the sound of bagpipes blaring with lamentation as representatives from Canada, the United States and other countries gathered in Ottawa this morning for a grim ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Canada. September 11th.

The ceremony at the official residence of the United States Ambassador to Canada began with the “Presentation of the Colors” by a group of United States Marines, accompanied by members of the Joint Guard of the Canadian Colors.

A retired police father-son duo sang the national anthems of Canada and the United States in harmony.

“Twenty years ago this morning, our world changed,” US charge d’affaires Arnold Chacon, the top US diplomatic official in Canada, told dignitaries.

“The September 11 attacks may have taken place in the United States, but they were attacks against all of us. These were attacks on the core values ​​our countries share and on the kind of world we hope to pass on to our children.

WATCH | Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in the post-September period. 11th:

“It was the start of a new era”: former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien reflects on September 11 and the war in Afghanistan

Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien joined Power & Politics on Friday to reflect on the 20th anniversary of September 11 and Canada’s role in the war in Afghanistan. 15:16

Nearly 3,000 people were killed after 19 hijackers from al-Qaeda, a terrorist group then led by Osama bin Laden, requisitioned four passenger jets that day in 2001 and crushed them against the Twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon building in Washington DC

The fourth plane was shot down in an open field near Shanksville, Pa., Before it could reach its target following an on-board struggle involving some of the passengers.

It is the deadliest terrorist attack in US history, the aftermath of which ushered in a new global political era characterized by the US-led “war on terror” which saw Canada plunged into war in Afghanistan.

This war ended in chaos just weeks ago with the US withdrawal of its remaining troops, as the Taliban – the same Islamic militants who gave refuge to the 9/11 plotters – regained control of the country .

Canadian support for the United States remembers

In his remarks, Chacon highlighted the outpouring of support from Canadians in the days following the 9/11 attacks, including many in places like Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Halifax and Vancouver, which have opened their homes when ground flights across North America failed. tens of thousands of passengers.

He recalled the greeting cards and flowers placed outside the United States Embassy on Sussex Drive and that more than 100,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill on September 14, 2001 for a vigil in memory of the victims, including then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

At today’s ceremony, the Canadian and American flags that fluttered behind the podium at the vigil two decades ago were presented to the Embassy as a gift symbolizing the continuing relationship between the two countries.

Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and United States Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci observe three minutes of silence during a ceremony in Ottawa on September 14, 2001 in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks of 11 September in the United States. The Canadian and American flags flying behind them were presented to the American Embassy as a gift on the 20th anniversary of the attacks. (Tom Hanson / The Canadian Press)

“My predecessor, the late Ambassador Paul Cellucci, later recalled that when terrorists struck the heart of America, there was a valuable lesson to be learned in the relationship between the United States and Canada,” said Chacon .

“Namely, the instinct of Canadians to help their neighbors in any way possible.

Senate Speaker George Furey represented the Canadian government at the ceremony.

“It was horrible to witness these fateful and tragic events,” Furey said.

“As Canadians, we watched in horror and shared the pain and grief of our American neighbors, our American friends, and indeed our American family.”

Leaders Remember 9/11 During Campaign

Federal leaders spoke on the anniversary during the election campaign.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was teaching at a school in Vancouver at the time of the attacks and remembers talking to his students about what it means for the future.

“Twenty years ago we have to reflect on that day. To the thousands of people lost, including 24 Canadians. while others fled for their lives, ”Trudeau said at an event in Mississauga, Ont.

WATCH | Trudeau marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks:

Trudeau celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 2:09

Trudeau said he was also thinking of Muslim Canadians, for whom he said a lot had changed as attitudes changed.

“It reminds us that in recent years and today in the future, we must all unite against intolerance, hatred, racism and Islamophobia,” he said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, campaigning in Whitby, Ont., Encouraged Canadians to mark the day by remembering the victims and pledging to serve their communities.

“On this day, we honor the memory of the 3,000 lives we lost, including 24 Canadian lives, in these tragic attacks. And we honor the memory of the first responders, who risked their lives to save others, ”said O’Toole.

“Today is also National Day of Service, so mark today with a commitment to remember and a commitment to grow your community.”

WATCH | O’Toole on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks:

O’Toole celebrates 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 0:35

In a statement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the continued loss of life add weight to the anniversary.

“September 11 was a tragedy that led to many others. And, while reflecting on the two decades of history that we have lived since, more than anything, we must not delay to recommit ourselves to doing the hard work in building a more inclusive world and a compassionate world, ”Singh said.

To commemorate the anniversary, US President Joe Biden will visit the three sites where the planes crashed.

He was joined in a morning ceremony by former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in New York City, where the World Trade Center towers fell two decades ago. Biden will later travel to the field near Shanksville, Pa., Where a plane crashed after heroic passengers battled terrorists to prevent it from reaching its destination in Washington. And finally, he’ll head to the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US military.


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