With loss on his mind — his own and the country’s — Vice President Joe Biden on Friday commemorated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, telling the families of firefighters he understood how somber anniversaries can make for bittersweet days.
“People don’t know, these anniversaries don’t get any easier,” he told a woman at Rescue Company 1 in Manhattan, a specialized unit whose ranks were cut in half after the terror attacks. “It all comes back.”
Rescue 1 specializes in recovering firefighters who are trapped in dangerous situations, including the North Tower of the World Trade Center that eventually collapsed after being struck by an airliner.
Biden was capping a two-day visit to New York City, where he held a rally-like event on the minimum wage on Thursday and taped an emotional interview on Stephen Colbert’s late night comedy show, during which he recounted in searing detail how he’s been mourning the recent death of his son Beau.
He was accompanied at the Rescue 1 firehouse by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and musician Billy Joel, whom Biden praised later for helping the country “sing more than weep” in the years after 9/11.
Speaking at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Biden ?said it took courage for families of 9/11 victims to show up, year after year, to the various events marking the day their loved ones died.
“Under similar circumstance for me, I never had the courage to show up for the first five or six years?,” he said, adding later: “Your physical presence gives hope to thousands and thousands of people who are not going through the exact same thing, but are suffering enormous loss.”
“No message, even over time, ultimately heals the wounds,” Biden said to the audience.
At the Rescue 1 firehouse, the Vice President found himself speaking to a woman whose son died attempting a rescue on 9/11.
“Took me a long, long, long time,” Biden said to Lorraine Foley, both of them alike in their status as parents whose children died before them.