First Lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush marked the 9th anniversary of September 11th yesterday by delivering keynote speeches at the Flight 93 National Memorial on a hillside overlooking the site of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash in Shanksville, PA.

The first ladies joined hundreds of others as they all gathered in the small town to honor the 40 victims of Flight 93.

“I come here today not just as first lady, I come as an American filled with a sense of awe at the heroism of our fellow citizens,” Obama said, in remarks that touched on the personal stories of the victims.

Bush spoke of the good that came that day and the faith that continues to inspire and sustain. “Nine years ago in the skies above this field and in Washington and in New York City we saw the worst of our enemy and the best of our nation,” Bush said. “We saw that there is evil in the world but good at the heart of our country. America was attacked, but the deepest belief of our democracy was vindicated.”

Obama and Bush met privately with the families of the 40 victims in a white tent overlooking the crash site as violins played. About 110 family members gathered with the first ladies and then viewed the site from a hill, in the same spot many stood nine years ago in the hours after the fateful crash watching state police line the ridge on horseback to salute.

A bell tolled 40 times, for each victim, as family members stepped up to a microphone and solemnly called the name of loved ones at 10:03 a.m., the time of the crash. Work is underway on a memorial, expected to be complete by next year, that will include a pathway tracking the final minutes of the flight and a memorial wall of names.

Source: Washington Post