Politics President Joe Biden Delivers Moving Remarks at 9/11 Memorial Ceremony: 'The Grief Was So Raw' “I know, for all those of you who lost someone, 21 years is both a lifetime and no time at all," the President paid tribute to the family of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy on Sunday By Shafiq Najib Published on September 11, 2022 05:05 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock President Joe Biden remembered the American lives lost in the 9/11 tragedy that occurred 21 years ago during his remarks at the Pentagon Memorial Ceremony on Sunday. Reflecting on the "terrible September morning," Biden, 79, began his speech by acknowledging the pain endured by the family of the victims. "I know, for all those of you who lost someone. Twenty-one years is both a lifetime and no time at all," he said in a tribute to families of 9/11 victims. "It's good to remember. These memories help us heal, but they can also open up the hurt and take us back to that moment when the grief was so raw." Shutterstock Inspired by His Experience on 9/11, Man Launches Kindness Initiative to Give Others a 'Helper's High' Recalling the attack, he discussed the "character of this nation" that the terrorist failed to change. "The character of sacrifice and love, of generosity and grace, of strength and resilience," he shared. "We saw it in the police officers and firefighters who stood on the pile at Ground Zero for months amid that twisted steel and broken concrete slabs, breathing the toxins and ash that would damage their health, refusing -- refusing to stop the search through the destruction. They never stopped and would not." Biden also touched on the country's effort to bring justice, paying tribute to "hundreds of thousands of American troops" who have served abroad. "And to all our service members and their families, our veterans, our Gold Star families, all the survivors and caregivers and loved ones who have sacrificed so much for our nation: We owe you," he explained. "We owe you an incredible — an incredible debt, a debt that can never be repaid but will never fail to meet the sacred obligation to you to properly prepare and equip those that we send into harm's way and care for those and their families when they come home — and to never, ever, ever forget." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up to date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. In the speech, Biden reminded the public about the killing of Osama bin Laden which took about a decade to accomplish. He also spoke about the recent successful strike this summer which he authorized on Zawahiri — Laden's former deputy who later became the leader of Al-Qaeda. "Because we will not rest. We'll never forget. We'll never give up," he said. Noting that the security in the country has continued to maintain its vigilance to protect the nation, he added, "We'll continue to monitor and disrupt those terrorist activities wherever we find them, wherever they exist. And we'll never hesitate to do what's necessary to defend the American people." As he concluded his remarks, Biden expressed his admiration for the uniqueness of this country and its citizens. Retired Flight Attendant Walks 200 Miles to World Trade Center in Honor of Fallen 9/11 Colleagues "There's nothing this nation cannot accomplish when we stand together and defend with all our hearts that which makes us unique in the world: our democracy," he said. "We're not only a nation based on principles, but we are based on an idea unlike — we're the most unique nation in the world. An idea that everyone is created equal and should be treated equally throughout their lives." "We don't always live up to it, but we've never walked away from it," he added. "That's what makes us strong. That's what makes us who we are." Meanwhile, Jill Biden also shared her memories of 9/11 in her speech at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania while accompanied by her sister Bonny Jacobs. Jill, 71, spoke about Jacobs who was and still is a flight attendant with United Airlines who had not just lost her colleagues but also her friends during the attack. Touching 9/11 Tributes Made Over the Years by Survivors and Those Who've Lost Loved Ones "9/11 touched us all — it changed us all," the first lady said. "But it reminded us that with courage and kindness we can be a light in that darkness. It showed us that we are all connected to one another." Before closing her remarks, she discussed the "legacy we must carry forward" including, "Hope that defies hate, love that defies loss, and the ties that hold us together through it all."