First Lady Jill Biden Attends Surfside Memorial Marking 1 Year Since Condo Collapse: 'We Stand By You'

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First Lady Jill Biden Attends Surfside Memorial Marking 1 Year Since Condo Collapse: 'We Stand By You'
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First Lady Jill Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse alongside members of the community impacted by the tragedy, which killed 98 people.

Biden, 71, took the stage Friday at the Surfside Remembrance Event, where she honored those whose lives were forever affected by the June, 24 2021 collapse, and those who stepped up to help.

"On behalf of my husband, President Biden, whose heart and prayers have never left this community, we stand by you today and always," the First Lady said, via NBC affiliate WPTV.

She later added, "The things we carry are heavier now, and one year later, or many years later, our knees sometimes buckle beneath the weight of our grief. Still, we have discovered moments of grace, too. ... We realize that we are not alone."

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First Lady Jill Biden speaks as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis listens during the one year Surfside Remembrance Event for the victims of the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 24, 2022 in Surfside, Florida. 98 people died when the building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.
First Lady Jill Biden speaks as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis listens during the one year Surfside Remembrance Event for the victims of the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 24, 2022 in Surfside, Florida. 98 people died when the building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.

Joe Raedle/Getty Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Jill Biden

Biden praised the community's tenacity in the wake of the early morning tragedy — from the firefighters and fire responders who "spent weeks working to recover" victims to "the members of Surfside who came together to embrace" those directly impacted by the collapse.

The First Lady also lauded the Americans "who donated and found ways to spread kindness" after news of the catastrophe spread.

"We honor the light that you found in each other," Biden said, calling it "a fellowship that you never wanted to be a part of but draw strength from just the same."

"If there is something strong enough to help us carry this burden of grief forward… it's love," she added.

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First Lady Jill Biden speaks during the one year Surfside Remembrance Event for the victims of the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 24, 2022 in Surfside, Florida. 98 people died when the building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.
First Lady Jill Biden speaks during the one year Surfside Remembrance Event for the victims of the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 24, 2022 in Surfside, Florida. 98 people died when the building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.

Joe Raedle/Getty First Lady Jill Biden

Also speaking at the event was Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger, who said the effects of the 2021 collapse "will last a lifetime."

"No one felt the loss as much as you," Danzinger said to the families of victims and survivors. "You had a piece of your hearts torn out that night, leaving a gaping hole that will never be filled."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recognized the community's courage at Friday's memorial, which he said "speaks a lot about this community in Surfside" and Florida.

"You saw an entire community mobilize in support of, obviously, families who were wondering what happened with their loved ones, other families who were displaced and you had individuals step up," he said.

The families of victims and survivors of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse were awarded nearly $1 billion in a settlement in May.