President Obama intends to keep a low profile through much of Sunday’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. No major speeches. No presidential pageantry or fanfare when he visits the three attack sites. He’ll speak only for 15 minutes at a concert and interfaith prayer service at night, aides say.
Still, Obama has sought to put his imprint on the anniversary ahead of time, using his weekly address to remember the fallen, those who have served selflessly in their memory, and the lessons their example provides for America’s future.
“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,” Obama said.
“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,” he said, alluding to the latest threat of a possible terror plot connected to the anniversary.
“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.”
Obama cited the draw-downs of U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as signs of “confidence as a nation.” He invoked the determination of the American people to “not succumb to division or suspicion” as evidence they have rejected paralysis by terror. And he signaled that greater U.S. involvement in international partnerships and support for the Arab Spring were indications “America doesn’t hunker down and hide behind walls of mistrust.”
“Ten years ago, ordinary Americans showed us the true meaning of courage when they rushed up those stairwells, into those flames, into that cockpit,” Obama said. “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.”
The president and first lady will participate in a service project in Washington today, the White House said. On Sunday, they will travel to Ground Zero in New York City where they will attend a commemoration ceremony. Later, they travel to Shanksville, Pa., and then back to Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon where they will lay wreaths and meet privately with victims’ families.