The White House announced this week that President Biden will observe the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Alaska, not any of the three attack sites.
On Monday, Sept. 11, Biden will travel to a military base in Alaska where he will mark the 22nd anniversary of the attacks in a memorial ceremony with members of the military and their families, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Monday.
The White House explained that the president will travel to Alaska to mark the somber occasion after his Sept. 10 trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, where he will meet with Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other leaders to discuss technological innovation and climate change in an effort to bolster the two nations’ relationship.
Simultaneously, while Biden participates in 9/11 ceremonies in Alaska, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will mark the occasion in a commemoration ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, according to Jean-Pierre. And First Lady Jill Biden will lay a wreath at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.
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President Biden will spend Sept. 11 this year in Alaska in a departure from tradition. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Biden’s plans for Sept. 11 represent the first time since the attacks that a president has opted against observing the occasion at either the White House or any of the three attack sites.
Former President Barack Obama participated in a moment of silence on the White House lawn before traveling to Maryland’s Fort Meade in 2015, The Associated Press reported. In 2005, former President George W. Bush similarly participated in a ceremony on the White House lawn.
On every other 9/11 anniversary, presidents have traveled to at least one of the three attack sites in New York City, northern Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
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Sept. 11 also represents the date in 2021 that Biden announced he would order the Department of Defense to withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan by.
Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal ultimately ended in disaster in August 2021 after a terrorist attack killed 13 American service members protecting the Kabul, Afghanistan, airport where the U.S. and allies conducted a chaotic evacuation effort.