Joe Biden and Mike Pence bump elbows at 9/11 memorial in NYC as 'tasteless' flyover is CANCELEDSeptember 11, 2020
POLITICAL rivals Joe Biden and Mike Pence have engaged in a rare display of unity during the 9/11 Memorial & Museum's annual commemoration at Ground Zero in New York.
The Democratic presidential candidate and Republican vice president this morning paid respects to the thousands of lives lost in the tragic terror attacks which rocked the world 19 years ago.
Biden and Pence's visits overlapped and saw the former and current US vice president greet each other with an elbow bump – a common COVID-era replacement for the handshake.
Dr Jill Biden and second lady Karen Pence also greeted one another with the gesture.
During the Friday ceremony, the Bidens stood alongside New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo as a pre-recorded reading of the names was heard.
The friendly physical exchange between Pence and Biden at Ground Zero was also a solemn, brief pause of what has been a bitter campaign between President Donald Trump and Biden, the Democratic nominee looking to win the White House in November. Trump did not attend the event.
Despite the political significance of the upcoming presidential election, Biden insisted that he would steer clear of politics on a national day of mourning.
"I'm not gonna make any news today. I'm not gonna talk about anything other than 9/11," he told reporters.
"We took all our advertising down, it's a solemn day, and that's how we're going to keep it, OK?"
Biden was due to visit Shanksville in Pennsylvania – the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 – for memorial events later Friday, after Trump traveled there Friday morning to mark the anniversary.
“The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall and fight back,” Trump said.
“In the days and weeks after 9/11, citizens of all faiths, backgrounds, colors and creeds came together, prayed together, mourned together and rebuilt together,” he said.
The visits of the two campaign adversaries were not scheduled to overlap.
Meanwhile, a planned military flyover of Manhattan to mark the anniversary of 9/11 has been canceled after critics blasted the move as “completely tasteless”.
“As per the US Navy, today’s F-18 jet flyover on the Hudson River has been canceled,” New York City’s emergency-notifcation system tweeted at 11:40 a.m. — about four hours before the controversial event was set to occur.
The New York City Emergency Management system on Thursday announced an F-18 jet was expected to conduct a flyover near the Verrazzano Bridge at 3.30pm on Friday as part of several 9/11 tributes held across the city.
The aircraft was due to fly over the river at an altitude of about 2,500 feet, according to a statement posted on Twitter.
The announcement quickly drew criticism on social media with many slamming the event as ill-conceived.
Critics said the idea to have a low-flying jet over Manhattan on the day the nation will pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people was "insensitive" to the family of victims.
"Granted, I no longer live in NY, but this seems like a really bad idea, verging on completely tasteless," Brandon Borrman, Twitter's VP of global communications, tweeted in response.
Staten Island Rep. Max Rose also replied to the tweet saying: "Are you out of your mind? Cancel this immediately."
Several users echoed his sentiments, with one woman adding: "Why in the world would anyone decide to have a flyover in NYC on September 11th? This is not a tribute, it is extremely insensitive especially to the families of those who were murdered in the Twin Towers that awful and horrific day."
In a statement to The Sun, a spokesperson for Bill de Blasio said the mayor was not informed about the plans for the flyover.
"The mayor wasn't aware of the flyover, and frankly it's inappropriate. He looks forward to thanking our heroes and honoring those we've lost at the ceremony this morning," the statement read.
On September 11, 2001, a total of at least 2,977 people were killed in the terror attacks in New York, at the Pentagon in northern Virginia and at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93, one of four planes hijacked that day by Islamic extremists, crashed to the ground. Most of the deaths occurred in New York. Thousands more people have died from illnesses related to the attacks, following the tragedy.
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