Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
This morning, President Barack Obama and his wife laid a wreath at the Pentagon as part of an official observance remembering the events of September 11, 2011. The president also spoke to the families and friends of the victims, remarking that “eleven times we have marked another September 11th come and gone. Eleven times, we have paused in remembrance, in reflection, in unity and in purpose. This is never an easy day. But it is especially difficult for all of you–the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives–your mothers and fathers, your husbands and wives, your sons and your daughters. They were taken from us suddenly and far too soon.”
But no matter how many years pass, no matter how many times we come together on this hallowed ground, know this — that you will never be alone. Your loved ones will never be forgotten. They will endure in the hearts of our nation, because through their sacrifice, they helped us make the America we are today — an America that has emerged even stronger.
Most of the Americans we lost that day had never considered the possibility that a small band of terrorists halfway around the world could do us such harm. Most had never heard the name al Qaeda. And yet, it’s because of their sacrifice that we’ve come together and dealt a crippling blow to the organization that brought evil to our shores. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again. Our country is safer and our people are resilient.
It’s true that the majority of those who died on September 11th had never put on our country’s uniform. And yet, they inspired more than 5 million Americans — members of the 9/11 Generation — to wear that uniform over the last decade. These men and women have done everything that we have asked.
Today, the war in Iraq is over. In Afghanistan, we’re training Afghan security forces and forging a partnership with the Afghan people. And by the end of 2014, the longest war in our history will be over. Meanwhile, countless civilians have opened their hearts to our troops, our military families and our veterans.
Eleven years ago, memorial services were held for Americans of different races and creeds, backgrounds and beliefs. And yet, instead of turning us against each other, tragedy has brought us together. I’ve always said that our fight is with al Qaeda and its affiliates, not with Islam or any other religion. This country was built as a beacon of freedom and tolerance. That’s what’s made us strong, now and forever.
And, finally, when those innocent souls were taken from us they left behind unfulfilled work and tasks that remain undone. And that’s why, on a day when others sought to bring this country down, we choose to build it up with a National Day of Service and Remembrance.