Obama, Pentagon Leaders Honor 9/11 Victims, Pledge Resolve in Defense of U.S.Article - Friday, September 11, 2009
John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
Source: US Department of Defense
President Barack Obama today reflected on those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, and said today’s anniversary is an opportunity to renew American resolve against those who perpetrated the attacks.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined Obama during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony and wreath laying at the Pentagon today.
“We remember with reverence the lives we lost. We read their names. We press their photos to our hearts,” Obama said. “And on this day that marks their death, we recall the beauty and meaning of their lives, men and women and children of every color and every creed, from across our nation and from more than a hundred others.”
The crowd gathered at the two-acre Pentagon Memorial was composed of families of the 184 people killed here when hijackers barreled American Airlines Flight 77 into the façade of the U.S. military’s headquarters. In total, nearly 3,000 died in coordinated attacks here, in New York and aboard the hijacked United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.
“Eight Septembers have come and gone. Nearly 3,000 days have passed -- almost one for each of those taken from us,” Obama said. “But no turning of the seasons can diminish the pain and the loss of that day; no passage of time and no dark skies can ever dull the meaning of this moment.
“So on this solemn day, at this sacred hour, once more we pause, once more we pray, as a nation and as a people -- in city streets where our two towers were turned to ashes and dust, in a quiet field where a plane fell from the sky, and here where a single stone of this building is still blackened by the fires,” he added.
The president called on Americans to renew their resolve against those who perpetrated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and who continue to plot against the U.S.