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Pence reflects on 9/11: Biden admin's 'failings' cannot diminish the heroism and service of US military

EXCLUSIVE: Former Vice President Mike Pence, reflecting on Sept. 11, 2001, told Fox News on Friday that the “failings” of the Biden administration in conflicts “cannot diminish the heroism and service” of U.S. military men and women, saying the security of the United States in the last 20 years is a “tribute to the sacrifice” of this “generation of heroes.” 

During an exclusive interview with Fox News, the former vice president shared a message to military families who have lost loved ones, as well as active duty and veteran members of the U.S. armed forces. 

“We are going to mark tomorrow, 20 years to the day since 9/11, without having had a major terrorist attack on American soil,” Pence said. “That is owing, entirely, to the men and women who stepped forward to defend freedom in Afghanistan and in the War on Terror.” 

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“And so, the failings of the Biden administration in Afghanistan cannot diminish the heroism and service of all those who brought us to this day,” he said. 

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“I will always believe, it is likely that I was able to go home and hug my family because of what those selfless and patriotic Americans did on Flight 93, so for me, there is always a special place in my heart for the heroes on Flight 93,” Pence told Fox News. 

Vice President Mike Pence, left, and second lady Karen Pence waving after remarks to Army 10th Mountain Division soldiers, many of whom recently returned from Afghanistan, in Fort Drum, New York, Jan. 17, 2021.

Vice President Mike Pence, left, and second lady Karen Pence waving after remarks to Army 10th Mountain Division soldiers, many of whom recently returned from Afghanistan, in Fort Drum, New York, Jan. 17, 2021.
(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

Pence recalled returning home to his wife, former second lady Karen Pence, and his three young children, on the evening of Sept. 11. 

“We sat around the kitchen table and talked about what happened and prayed about it as a family,” he said, explaining to his children that “Daddy would be working a lot in the days ahead.” 

“I said I had to go back to work, and my youngest, Audrey, who was 5 years old, and is now a practicing attorney, followed me out the door, and said, ‘Dad, I have a question,’” he recalled. “I said I had to go back to work, and she said ‘I have a question,’ and she stomped her feet. Exasperated, I turned around and said, ‘What?’” 

“She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, ‘If we have to make a war, do you have to go?’” Pence remembered. “I dropped down on one knee and threw my arms around her, because, all of a sudden, I knew where her little heart was at, and I just said, ‘Daddy is too old.’” 

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But Pence said, “there is not a day gone by that I haven’t thought of every dad, every mom, every son, every daughter, every spouse, that answered that question differently.” 

“Not because they had to, but because they chose to,” Pence said. “And nearly 6 million Americans have put on the uniform and defended our freedom and great sacrifice.” 

He added: “The men and women, in the wake of 9/11, who stepped forward, and said, ‘here am I, send me,’ is deeply inspiring to me.” 

Pence went on to describe the Biden administration’s move to withdraw all U.S. military assets from Afghanistan on Aug. 31 as “disastrous” and a “disgrace.” 

“It dishonored the service and sacrifice of all of the men and women who fought and defended freedom throughout Operation Enduring Freedom and all of our efforts in Afghanistan,” he said. “It grieved me deeply to see that occur.” 

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“They knew we meant business. The world understood that this was a president willing to use American military power to advance America’s interests,” he said. “This never had to happen the way it happened under the Biden Administration.” 

He added: “It was a disgrace and it dishonored service and sacrifice.” 

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