WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump commemorated the Sept. 11 attacks Monday at the Pentagon vowing that the military would not quit the fight started 16 years ago today.

Trump was joined by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford at the Pentagon ceremony. More than 300 family members of the 59 passengers and crew on American Flight 77 and the 125 Pentagon personnel killed on the ground also came to the memorial to commemorate the somber anniversary.

Sept. 11 remembrance ceremonies

In all, almost 3,000 Americans were killed on Sept. 11 in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. Trump and first lady Melania Trump also held a moment of silence at the White House to commemorate the planes crashing into the World Trade Center prior to the attending the Pentagon ceremony. 

Trump said that in the years since Sept. 11, more than 5 million Americans have joined the military to contribute to the war against terrorism, and “nearly 7,000 service members have given their lives fighting terrorists around the globe.”

Despite a drawdown of forces in Iraq in 2011 and in Afghanistan in 2014, the return of insurgent forces and terrorists in both countries, and now Syria as well, has required the U.S. to send thousands of forces back. The Pentagon is now considering an additional buildup of troops to Afghanistan, too, to stop the Taliban from making additional gains there.

“While we never asked for this fight we are steadfastly committed to see this through,” Mattis said. “We will continue to do so using all means necessary and as long as necessary.”