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Remembering 9-11 after 11 years

A wreath in memory of the September 11 victims at the 9/11 Memorial site in New York City (Photo: VOA / Sandra Lemaire)

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. In an address marking the anniversary, President Barack Obama said it is again time to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children who were lost, and the families 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.”

On that clear and terrible September morning, President Obama said, America was “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?”

In the last difficult decade, Mr. Obama said America answered those questions and came back stronger as a nation:

“We took the fight to al Qaida, decimated their leadership, and put them on a path to defeat. And thanks to the courage and skill or our intelligence personnel and armed forces, Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again.”

Americans resisted the temptation to give into mistrust and suspicion, said Mr. Obama, and understood that our war was with al Qaida and its affiliates:

“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.”

Mr. Obama said the attacks brought out the best in the American people: since then more than five million citizens have worn America’s uniform; America ended the war in Iraq and brought a close to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

“We’ve trained Afghan Security Forces and forged a partnership with a new Afghan government,” said Mr. Obama. And, finally, instead of turning inward with grief, we reaffirmed the values at the heart of who we are as a people by giving back to our communities.

After eleven years, the legacy of 9/11 is “the ability to say with confidence that no adversary and no act of terrorism can change who we are,” said President Obama. “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.”