Queen offers ‘thoughts and prayers’ on 9/11 anniversary

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by offering her sympathies to the victims, survivors and families affected by the atrocity.

In a message to U.S. President Joe Biden, the British monarch remembered the “terrible attacks” on New York and Washington, D.C.

“My thoughts and prayers — and those of my family and the entire nation — remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty,’’ she said.

“My visit to the site of the World Trade Center in 2010 is held fast in my memory. It reminds me that as we honor those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.”

The ties between the two nations were marked with a special Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle in which “The Star Spangled Banner” was played. Hundreds gathered inside and outside the walls of the castle to watch.

The U.S. national anthem had also been played at Buckingham Palace 20 years ago on Sept. 12, 2001, a mark of solidarity with the United States.

U.S. Charge d’Affaires Philip Reeker thanked the queen for the gesture.

“Speaking for the United States, we have no closer ally and no closer friend, in good times and in bad times, and we are very much reminded of that today … through the enduring relationship between our two countries,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also remembered the attacks, issuing a statement ahead of the anniversary saying that the terrorists had failed to “shake our belief in freedom and democracy.”

“They failed to drive our nations apart, or cause us to abandon our values, or to live in permanent fear.”

Sixty-seven British nationals were among the almost 3,000 people killed when hijacked planes crashed into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.