On Saturday, U.S. allies commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with prayers, bagpipes, candles, and optimism.
According to CBC News, a moment of quiet was observed in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, followed by bagpipes. At an event in Mississauga, Ontario, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reflected on the thousands of individuals killed in the attack, including 24 Canadians.
“That reminds us that over these past years and continuing today into the future, we all need to stand together — against intolerance, hatred, racism and Islamophobia,” he said.
According to the BBC, Queen Elizabeth sent a note to President Joe Biden on the anniversary, expressing her condolences to the victims, survivors, and their families. She praised the “resilience and determination of the communities that came together to rebuild.”
The September 11 UK Families Support Group held a private memorial service in central London to honor the 67 British victims of the assault. According to the BBC, 67 candles were due to be lighted in the yard after sunset to memorialize them.
While the attackers imposed “their load of pain and misery,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video shared to Twitter that the attack “failed to break our trust in freedom and democracy.”
At a ceremony at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, US service members, veterans, and German civilians commemorated the milestone, according to Stars and Stripes.
Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, commander of the Third Air Force, stood against a backdrop of a giant U.S. flag and hundreds of firefighters’ helmets and other equipment. He recalled seeing a New York City firefighter pulling a U.S. flag out of the rubble at Ground Zero and passing it to a hand waiting above.
“That hand waiting above was an American soldier, who said five words: ‘I’ve got it from here,'” said Reed. The U.S. military carried the flag forward to Afghanistan and has now brought it home, he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that “9/11 was not only an attack on the United States, it was an attack on us all.” He also said the event witnessed the worst of humanity but also brought out the best.
“From the first responders who ran into the buildings as everyone else was running out, to the medical staff who saved so many lives, to the ordinary men and women who did everything they could to help their fellow citizens,” he said.
NATO and other U.S. allies responded to 9/11 with an invasion of Afghanistan ousting the Taliban who were hosting al-Qaida, the terrorist group behind the attacks. Although the Taliban have retaken Afghanistan after the United States and NATO pulled out the country last month, Stoltenberg pointed to gains made. He said Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for al-Qaida and a new generation of Afghans grew up in relative freedom.
“Those gains cannot be easily reversed,” he said.