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Rep. Mary Peltola, the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress, joined President Joe Biden in commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska. The president made a stop in Alaska on his way back from Asia.

President Biden, who is the first president to not attend the 9/11 commemoraton in New York, called for national unity.

“It’s more important than ever that we come together around the principle of American democracy, regardless of our political background,” he said. “We must not succumb to the poisonous politics of difference and division.”

Rep. Peltola’s remarks focused on the impact of the 9/11 attacks on Alaska, including Alaskan troops who served during the Global War on Terror. She also spoke of the importance of unity to America’s healing and concluded by focusing on the critical role of Alaskan energy in national security. 

“While Alaska may be far from Ground Zero, we too felt the impacts of that day,” Rep. Peltola said. “Many of our brave soldiers were deployed overseas in the following years, where they fought and some died in the service of this nation. Everyone standing here today is in their debt.”

“Today, our president is returning from meeting partners in Asia, who seek independence from the influence of authoritarian states, and see Alaska’s resources as a means of achieving their own freedom, showing that America remains a beacon of hope around the world,”  Rep. Peltola added.

Alaska Governor Dunleavy and Major General Brian Eifler, Commanding General, 11th Airborne Division and Deputy Commander, United States Alaskan Command also spoke at the ceremony. 

After the commemoration, Peltola traveled to Washington, D.C. on Air Force with President Biden. On the flight, they were expected to discuss the President’s trip to Asia and Alaska’s role in Pacific Rim strategy and energy markets. 

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