In remarks commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, President Obama praised the nation for its resilience and said the last decade had “shown that America does not give in to fear.”
“We can never get back the lives we lost on that day, or the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars that followed,” he said.
But the president struck an optimistic tone as well reminding Americans that “it is worth remembering what has not changed.” “Our character as a nation has not changed. Our faith – in God and each other – that has not changed. Our belief in America … that belief, through test and trials, has only been strengthened,” said Obama.
“These past ten years underscore the bonds between all Americans. We have not succumbed to suspicion and mistrust,” he noted.
Obama said the “determination to move forward as one people” would be the true “legacy of 9/11.”
The president praised the rescue workers who responded to the attacks ten years ago, those who fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those who dealt with the after effects. “Over the years we have also seen a more quiet form of heroism – in the ladder company that lost so many men and still suits up to save lives every day; the businesses that have rebuilt; the burn victim who has bounced back; the families that press on,” said Obama.
Obama’s remarks came after a day of remembrance as the president and first lady visited three memorial sites to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary. The Obamas convened with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush at the World Trade Center site as the names of the nearly 3,000 killed in the attacks were read aloud.
In the ceremony there, Obama shared a passage from the Bible, quoting Psalm 46.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble," he read. "Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way.
Following Obama, former President Bush read from a letter that Abraham Lincoln sent to a woman who had lost five sons in the Civil War. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. Andre Cuomo, and New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie also attended and spoke at the ceremony.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the president had been "impressed by the memorial" in New York. Earnest added that the president and first lady “were particularly moved by the families of those who were lost, who participated in the ceremony.”
The Obamas then travelled to Shanksville, Pa. where they laid a wreath at the new memorial at the crash site of United flight 93.
After returning to Washington, the Obamas visited the Pentagon memorial where they met briefly with victims’ families.