Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
Saturday September 10, 2011
This weekend, we’re coming together, as one nation, to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We’re remembering the lives we lost—nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children. We’re reaffirming our commitment to always keep faith with their families.
We’re honoring the heroism of first responders who risked their lives—and gave their lives—to save others. And we’re giving thanks to all who serve on our behalf, especially our troops and military families—our extraordinary 9/11 Generation.
At the same time, even as we reflect on a difficult decade, we must look forward, to the future we will build together. That includes staying strong and confident in the face of any threat. And thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals—there should be no doubt. Today, America is stronger and al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.
We’ve taken the fight to al Qaeda like never before. Over the past two and a half years, more senior al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated than at any time since 9/11. And thanks to the remarkable courage and precision of our forces, we finally delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.
We’ve strengthened the partnerships and tools we need to prevail in this war against al Qaeda—working closer with allies and partners; reforming intelligence to better detect and disrupt plots; investing in our Special Forces so terrorists have no safe haven.
We’re constantly working to improve the security of our homeland as well—at our airports, ports and borders; enhancing aviation security and screening; increasing support for our first responders; and working closer than ever with states, cities and communities.
A decade after 9/11, it’s clear for all the world to see—the terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values.
They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear. Yes we face a determined foe, and make no mistake—they will keep trying to hit us again. But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people. And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.
They wanted to draw us in to endless wars, sapping our strength and confidence as a nation. But even as we put relentless pressure on al Qaeda, we’re ending the war in Iraq and beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. Because after a hard decade of war, it is time for nation building here at home.
They wanted to deprive us of the unity that defines us as a people. But we will not succumb to division or suspicion. We are Americans, and we are stronger and safer when we stay true to the values, freedoms and diversity that make us unique among nations.
And they wanted to undermine our place in the world. But a decade later, we’ve shown that America doesn’t hunker down and hide behind walls of mistrust. We’ve forged new partnerships with nations around the world to meet the global challenges that no nation can face alone. And across the Middle East and North Africa a new generation of citizens is showing that the future belongs to those that want to build, not destroy.
Ten years ago, ordinary Americans showed us the true meaning of courage when they rushed up those stairwells, into those flames, into that cockpit. In the decade since, a new generation has stepped forward to serve and keep us safe. In their memory, in their name, we will never waver. We will protect the country we love and pass it safer, stronger and more prosperous to the next generation.