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Amid national anthem controversy, Biden to join first responders in 9/11 tribute at NFL game in Philadelphia

Amid national anthem controversy, Biden to join first responders in 9/11 tribute at NFL game in Philadelphia
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden observe a moment of silence at a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2013. (Kevin Dietsch / European Pressphoto Agency)

Vice President Joe Biden will mark the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Sunday by taking part in a tribute to first responders before a Philadelphia Eagles game.

According to a White House official, Biden will join 120 police officers, firefighters and emergency responders on the sidelines during the national anthem and a pregame ceremony honoring the victims of the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.

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It will be the first time in eight years as vice president that Biden will not spend part of Sept. 11 in New York, at the Pentagon or in western Pennsylvania, where the four hijacked airliners crashed in the coordinated attack, or in Washington.

His presence on the sidelines of the Eagles' game against the Cleveland Browns, on the opening weekend of the National Football League season, also comes amid controversy over San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision not to stand for the national anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.

Framed by a piece of the World Trade Center towers, annual 9/11 ceremony held in Los Angeles.

Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has long cultivated a close relationship with law enforcement and first responders and frequently been an emissary to police groups that have clashed with President Obama over his comments on police-involved shootings and other criminal justice issues.

Obama said this week that Kaepernick was exercising his constitutional right through the silent protest, while acknowledging the passions it stirred among many that might distract from the message.

"I don't doubt his sincerity, based on what I've heard," Obama said at a news conference in China during a G-20 summit. "I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. And if nothing else, what he's done is he's generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about."

Obama will deliver remarks at a memorial service at the Pentagon on Sunday.

For more White House coverage, follow @mikememoli on Twitter.

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