Obama Tells Troops of Girl Who Lost Father on 9/11, Meets Navy SEALs Who Killed Osama Bin Laden

May 6, 2011 5:33pm

President Obama gave moving remarks today to soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, recently back from Afghanistan, telling them of a girl who spoke to her father shortly before his death in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He met yesterday, at Ground Zero, with Payton Wall, who wrote him a letter after Osama bin Laden was killed. Here is a picture of President Obama hugging  Payton Wall at Ground Zero on Thursday: She was 4 on 9/11 and wrote to President Obama after Osama bin Laden was killed.   Obama said “her dad was trapped in the world trade center” so he called home. “she watched her mom sobbing” and then the phone was passed to her. The teen told Obama that she could barely hear her father, but the words have remained with her.  ”Payton, I love you and I will always be watching over you,” her father told her, according to the President. Wall, who was invited to stand behind the president when he laid a wreath at Ground Zero Thursday, got a lot of media attention when the event was concluded. But the girl declined to go into details about what she wrote the president, leaving it to Obama to recount the emotional moment. Wall had written to Obama after her first letter to pop idol Justin Bieber was ignored. She wrote to Bieber telling him that his music had helped her get through some tough years.  “For her and for all oof us this  week has been a reminder of what we’re about as a people,” President Obama told the troops, referring to the death after nearly ten years, of Osama bin Laden. “We’re still the America that does the hard things. That does the great things,” he said, pointing out that the 101st Airborne Division is the outfit that dropped behind enemy lines on D-Day and went to Little Rock to desegregate schools. “That was you,” he said to the soldiers. Before telling troops about his trip to Ground Zero, President Obama met behind closed doors with members of the military team that killed Osama bin Laden. In small briefing on the operation for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Navy SEALs and Nightstalker pilots involved in the mission went into detail, using a laser pointer, maps, photos and even a small scale model of the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound where Osama bin Laden had been hiding and where Navy SEALs killed him Sunday. One of the Special Forces mentioned that a dog had been part of the assault team, joking that if the president wanted to meet the dog, “I recommend you bring treats.” In his meeting with the full assault force, where President Obama presented a unit citation, he told those assembled that they represented “the finest small fighting force in the history of the world,” administration officials said. He also said that one reason he ordered the operation was because, despite the risks and uncertainty, “I had 100 percent confidence in you.”

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