Former President Bill Clinton said on Saturday that he and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will host a fundraiser in Washington to raise the $10 million needed to complete the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Speaking at the memorial's dedication in Shanksville, Pa., Clinton made the announcement while joking about the hyperpartisan environment in Washington.
"Since I am no longer in office, I can do unpopular things," he said.
Former President George W. Bush also spoke at the event. In his speech—a rare appearance by the former president—he recounted the story of United Airlines Flight 93.
"When the passengers and crew realized the plane had been hijacked, they reported the news calmly," Bush said. "When they learned that the terrorists crashed other planes into targets on the ground, they accepted greater responsibilities."
"The memorial we dedicate today will ensure that our nation always remembers those lost here," Bush added.
Vice President Joe Biden, the event's keynote speaker, eulogized the 40 lives lost when the passengers on the Boeing 757 overpowered the hijackers and crashed the plane into a field—instead of what was widely presumed to be the plane's intended target, U.S. Capitol.
"They knew it was the opening shot in a new war, and so they acted," Biden said. "They acted as citizen patriots have acted since the beginning of our country. They stood up and they stood their ground."
The event featured musical performances, poetry, and a reading of the names of those who were killed. Also in attendence were Second Lady Jill Biden, former First Lady Laura Bush, Boehner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Jonathan Jarvis, the director of the National Park Service, who emceed the event.
The memorial is based on a design by Paul and Milena Murdoch. Despite Saturday's dedication, construction of the memorial is still underway.
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