Vice President Mike Pence is crediting the crew and passengers who fought back against hijackers on 9/11 with protecting him and others in the U.S. Capitol that day.
Pence spoke at the commemoration Wednesday of the hijacked Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field, killing 40 passengers and crew.
The Flight 93 National Memorial marks the site near Shanksville where the plane went down at 10:03 a.m., after passengers fought back. Officials concluded the attackers had aimed the Boeing 757 toward Washington.
Pence said the memory of those killed in the crash is “carved into the hearts and memories of the American people.”
The terrorists also flew two planes into the World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York and a fourth into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
“I will always believe that I and many others in our nation’s capital were able to go home that day and hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of your families,” said Pence, who was an Indiana congressman at the time.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when terrorist-piloted planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, former President George W. Bush placed a wreath at the Pentagon in observance of the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
He was joined by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Donald Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary who was inside the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the building, killing 184 people, as part of the coordinated attack on the United States in 2001.
Earlier, President Donald Trump joined the military in observing a moment of silence at the Pentagon. He also placed a wreath of red, white, and blue flowers at the memorial site.
The president tweeted throughout the day in memory of all those lives that were lost.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press