(SHANKSVILLE, Pa.) – Vice President Joe Biden praised the heroism of the 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Flight 93 eleven years ago during a commemoration service in Shanksville, Pa., Tuesday morning.
“Today we stand on this hallowed ground, a place made sacred by the heroism and sacrifice of the passengers and the crew of Flight 93. And it’s as if the flowers, as I walked here, as if the flowers were giving testament to how sacred this ground is,” Biden said.
Biden, who experienced his own loss when his wife and daughter died in a car accident, tried to connect with the families of the 40 people who lost their lives eleven years ago and shared how even the simplest of actions can spark memories of their gone loved ones.
“For no matter how many anniversaries you experience, for at least an instant, the terror of that moment returns; the lingering echo of that phone call; that sense of total disbelief that envelops you, where you feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest,” Biden said.
“My hope for you all is that as every year passes, the depth of your pain recedes and you find comfort, as I have, genuine comfort in recalling his smile, her laugh, their touch,” Biden said. “And I hope you’re as certain as I am that she can see what a wonderful man her son has turned out to be, grown up to be; that he knows everything that your daughter has achieved, and that he can hear, and she can hear how her mom still talks about her, the day he scored the winning touchdown, how bright and beautiful she was on that graduation day, and know that he knows what a beautiful child the daughter he never got to see has turned out to be, and how much she reminds you of him."
“For I know you see your wife every time you see her smile on your child’s face. You remember your daughter every time you hear laughter coming from her brother’s lips. And you remember your husband every time your son just touches your hand,” Biden continued as he grew emotional.
The vice president extended a prayer for each of the families who lost their loved ones eleven years ago today.
“My personal prayer for all of you is that in every succeeding year, you’re able to sing more than you weep. And may God truly bless you and bless the souls of those 40 incredible people who rest in this ground,” Biden added.
As members of the audience sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” Biden and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar led the families of the 9/11 victims through the opening of the ceremonial gate and walked through a field to Flight 93’s impact point.
Prior to Biden’s speech, the names of the 40 passengers and crew members were read aloud, accompanied by the sounding of two bells each time.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio