This month marks the anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attacks in American history. On September 11th, 2001, 2 planes deliberately took down the World Trade Center towers, another plane crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth was forced down by heroic passengers into a field in Pennsylvania. In all, some 3,000 Americans perished at the hands of al Qaida.
"Our remembrance requires certain reflection," said President Barack Obama. "As a nation, and as individuals, we must ask ourselves how best to honor those who died, those who sacrificed. ... We need not look far for our answer," said President Obama:
"The perpetrators of this evil act didn't simply attack America, they attacked the very idea of America itself – all that we stand for and represent in the world. And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most – to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in cave distort who we are."
Islamic extremists, said President Obama, "may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as Americans we are not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day -- it was al Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion. And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation."
Al Qaida and its allies continue to try to undermine the United States and the very ideals that make America great and a beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world. The United States will never hand them that victory.
"For our cause is just," said President Obama. "Our resolve is unwavering." Like generations before, Americans today affirm certain inalienable rights, including life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. America chooses to remain one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. "That" said President Obama, "is how we choose to honor the fallen. ... This is how we will preserve and protect the country that we love and pass it safer and stronger to future generations."