Obama Commemorates 9/11 in Weekly Address

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2010 — On the ninth anniver­sary of the ter­ror­ist attacks on the Unit­ed States, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma today used his week­ly address to the nation to com­mem­o­rate the tragedy.

Here is the text of the president’s message: 

Today, we pause to remem­ber a day that test­ed our coun­try. On Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, near­ly 3,000 lives were lost in the dead­liest attack on Amer­i­can soil in our his­to­ry. We will nev­er for­get the images of planes van­ish­ing into build­ings; of pho­tos hung by the fam­i­lies of the miss­ing. We will nev­er for­get the anger and sad­ness we felt. And while nine years have come and gone since that Sep­tem­ber morn­ing, the pas­sage of time will nev­er dimin­ish the pain and loss for­ev­er seared in the con­scious­ness of our nation. 

That is why, on this day, we pray with the fam­i­lies of those who died. We mourn with hus­bands and wives, chil­dren and par­ents, friends and loved ones. We think about the mile­stones that have passed over the course of nine years – births and chris­ten­ings, wed­dings and grad­u­a­tions – all with an emp­ty chair. 

On this day, we also hon­or those who died so that oth­ers might live: the fire­fight­ers and first respon­ders who climbed the stairs of two burn­ing tow­ers; the pas­sen­gers who stormed a cock­pit; and the men and women who have, in the years since, borne the uni­form of this coun­try and giv­en their lives so that our chil­dren could grow up in a safer world. In acts of courage and decen­cy, they defend­ed a sim­ple pre­cept: I am my brother’s keep­er; I am my sister’s keeper. 

And on this day, we recall that at our dark­est moment, we sum­moned a sense of uni­ty and com­mon pur­pose. We respond­ed to the worst kind of deprav­i­ty with the best of our human­i­ty. So, each year at this time, we renew our resolve against those who per­pe­trat­ed this bar­bar­ic act of ter­ror and who con­tin­ue to plot against us – for we will nev­er waver in defense of this nation. We renew our com­mit­ment to our troops and all who serve to pro­tect this coun­try, and to their fam­i­lies. But we also renew the true spir­it of that day. Not the human capac­i­ty for evil, but the human capac­i­ty for good. Not the desire to destroy, but the impulse to save. 

That is why we mark Sep­tem­ber 11th as a Nation­al Day of Ser­vice and Remem­brance. For if there is a les­son to be drawn on this anniver­sary, it is this: we are one nation – one peo­ple – bound not only by grief, but by a set of com­mon ideals. And that by giv­ing back to our com­mu­ni­ties, by serv­ing peo­ple in need, we reaf­firm our ideals – in defi­ance of those who would do us grave harm. We prove that the sense of respon­si­bil­i­ty that we felt for one anoth­er was not a fleet­ing pas­sion – but a last­ing virtue. 

This is a time of dif­fi­cul­ty for our coun­try. And it is often in such moments that some try to stoke bit­ter­ness – to divide us based on our dif­fer­ences, to blind us to what we have in com­mon. But on this day, we are remind­ed that at our best, we do not give in to this temp­ta­tion. We stand with one anoth­er. We fight along­side one anoth­er. We do not allow our­selves to be defined by fear, but by the hopes we have for our fam­i­lies, for our nation, and for a brighter future. So let us grieve for those we’ve lost, hon­or those who have sac­ri­ficed, and do our best to live up to the val­ues we share – on this day, and every day that follows. 

Thank you. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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