Sept. 7 (UPI) -- As the nation prepares to mark 22 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the White House on Thursday called for Americans to solemnly observe the date with prayer and contemplation.
In a statement from the White House, President Joe Biden proclaimed Sept. 8-10 as "National Days of Prayer and Remembrance," in which the president urged Americans to mark the event with contemplative observances such as memorials services, the ringing of church bells and candlelight vigils.
"I invite people around the world to join," Biden said. "I call on the citizens of our nation to give thanks for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God's continued guidance, mercy and protection."
Biden noted that 2,977 were killed in the attacks, which he called acts of "deliberate evil" on America.
"On the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we come together to renew our sacred vow: Never forget," Biden said. "Never forget the parents, children, spouses, friends, and loved ones we lost that day. Never forget the heroes who stepped up to rescue their fellow Americans and help our communities rebuild in the hours -- and years -- thereafter. And never forget our obligation to honor their memories and service by building a safer and more secure future for all."
It's not the first time days of prayer have been encouraged as a way to mark the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
In 2016, then-President Barak Obama declared Sept. 9 through Sept. 11 as the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.
The National Day of Service and Remembrance was first conceptualized by the nonprofit organization MyGoodDeed, and the holiday was federally recognized via the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
Other observances are planned, as well.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will temporarily halt vehicle traffic at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge, which connects the United States to Mexico, during a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
"On Monday. September 11, 2023, at approximately 6:45 a.m., CBP will temporarily halt all vehicular and commercial bus traffic at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge to host the annual 9/11 ceremony. Vehicular traffic is expected to resume at 8:00 a.m.," Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Wednesday.
Last month, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that more than 60 of its national cemeteries would host National Day of Service events, too.
"These events will honor the veterans, service members, law-enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other first responders who served and scarified for the nation Sept. 11, 2001, and in the 22 years since," the VA said in a statement in August.