Weekly Address: Coming Together to Remember September 11th

The President:
This week, we mark the eleventh
anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It’s a time to remember the
nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children we lost,
and the families that they left behind. It’s a chance to honor the
courage of the first responders who risked their lives — on
that day, and every day since. And it’s an opportunity to give
thanks for our men and women in uniform who have
served and sacrificed, sometimes far from home,
to keep our country safe. This anniversary is about them. It’s also a time to reflect on
just how far we’ve come as a nation these past eleven years. On that clear September morning,
as America watched the towers fall, and the Pentagon burn,
and the wreckage smoldering in a Pennsylvania field, we
were filled with questions. Where had the attacks come from,
and how would America respond? Would they fundamentally
weaken the country we love? Would they change who we are? The last decade has been a
difficult one, but together, we have answered those questions
and come back stronger as a nation. We took the fight to al Qaeda,
decimating their leadership, and put them on
the path to defeat. And thanks to the courage
and skill of our intelligence personnel and armed forces,
Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again. Instead of pulling
back from the world, we’ve strengthened our alliances
while improving our security here at home. As Americans, we
refuse to live in fear. Today, a new tower rises
above the New York skyline. And our country is stronger,
safer and more respected in the world. Instead of turning
on each other, we’ve resisted the temptation
to give in to mistrust and suspicion. I’ve always said that America
is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates — and we will never
be at war with Islam or any other religion. We are the United
States of America. Our freedom and
diversity make us unique, and they will always be central
to who we are as a nation. Instead of changing who we are,
the attacks have brought out the best in the American people. More than 5 million members of
the 9/11 Generation have worn America’s uniform
over the past decade, and we’ve seen an outpouring of
goodwill towards our military, our veterans and their families. Together, they’ve done
everything we’ve asked of them. We’ve ended the war in Iraq
and brought our troops home. We brought an end to
the Taliban regime. We’ve trained Afghan
Security Forces, and forged a partnership
with a new Afghan Government. And by the end 2014, the
transition in Afghanistan will be complete and our
war there will be over. And finally, instead of
turning inward with grief, we’ve honored the memory of
those we lost by giving back to our communities,
serving those in need, and reaffirming the values
at the heart of who we are as a people. That’s why we mark September
11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Because we are one
American family. And we look out
for each other — not just on the difficult
days, but every day. Eleven years later, that’s
the legacy of 9/11 — the ability to say with
confidence that no adversary and no act of terrorism
can change who we are. We are Americans, and we will
protect and preserve this country we love. On this solemn anniversary,
let’s remember those we lost, let us reaffirm the
values they stood for, and let us keep moving forward
as one nation and one people.

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