Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls commemorated 9/11 on Friday, fourteen years after terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.
Republican candidate Jeb Bush participated in an observance ceremony in Londonderry, New Hampshire, reading the names of some of the victims of the attacks on stage, next to a 400-pound capstone from the roof of the Pentagon and a section of girder from one of the towers.
“I was governor of the state of Florida at the time, and it was an incredible experience to mobilize our state, and to have the concerns of 18 million Floridians on my mind and the rest of our country as well,” Bush said, later turning to his brother’s service during the attacks. “And I’m proud of the president of the United States at the time, who unified our country in a way that was desperately needed and created a strategy to keep us safe.”
Elsewhere, other candidates released statements from the campaign trail.
“Today and every day, our hearts are filled with the strength and spirit of a nation that rose out of the rubble united, unintimidated, and undeterred from celebrating our uniquely American values of freedom, liberty, and opportunity for all,” Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement honoring the victims and first responders.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz released a statement that took a more politicized turn and included a veiled criticism of the president, who conservatives have condemned for past statements describing the terrorist threat against the U.S. as religious – rather than specifically Islamic – extremism.
September 11th “should be an opportunity to resolve that we will not allow political correctness or complacency to lull us into the same false sense of security that al Qaida exploited fourteen years ago. We owe it to the memory of those whose lives were lost to squarely face the ongoing, virulent threat of radical Islamic terrorism, unafraid to call it what it is, as we defend ourselves and the founding principles that make America the greatest force for good in the world,” Cruz wrote in part.
The most prominent New Yorker running for president – Donald Trump – deleted an old tweet that commemorated the date two years ago by offering “best wishes to all, even the haters and losers,” and later in the day posted a more presidential tweet.
Still other candidates tweeted remembrances, urging Americans never to forget the day the country was attacked.