Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 9-11 “A Concert for Hope” — Kennedy Center in Washington, DC

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

President Obama at Kennedy Center: America Does Not Give In to Fear

Source: WH, 9-11-11

Download Video: mp4 (110MB) | mp3 (11MB)

On Sunday night, after a day spent remembering those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended “A Concert for Hope” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. with Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden. At the event, the President spoke about how that terrible day changed us, as individuals and as a nation. But the President also talked about what has not changed in these past ten years:

Our character as a nation has not changed. Our faith -– in God and in each other –- that has not changed. Our belief in America, born of a timeless ideal that men and women should govern themselves; that all people are created equal, and deserve the same freedom to determine their own destiny –- that belief, through tests and trials, has only been strengthened.

These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear. The rescue workers who rushed to the scene, the firefighters who charged up the stairs, the passengers who stormed the cockpit — these patriots defined the very nature of courage. Over the years we’ve also seen a more quiet form of heroism — in the ladder company that lost so many men and still suits up and saves lives every day, the businesses that have been rebuilt from nothing, the burn victim who has bounced back, the families who press on.

The President and First Lady today visited each of the three memorials that have been erected on the sites where the planes crashed, and in his remarks at the concert, the President spoke of how these tributes will help define this generation of Americans, and symbolize the lasting legacy of both those who died at the hands of the terrorists in this country, and those who gave their lives fighting in the two wars we have waged over the past decade:

Decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who were lost on 9/11. They’ll run their fingers over the places where the names of those we loved are carved into marble and stone, and they may wonder at the lives that they led. And standing before the white headstones in Arlington, and in peaceful cemeteries and small-town squares in every corner of the country, they will pay respects to those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ll see the names of the fallen on bridges and statues, at gardens and schools.

And they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will remember that we’ve overcome slavery and Civil War; we’ve overcome bread lines and fascism and recession and riots, and communism and, yes, terrorism. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy –- reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man -– also give us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration –- those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.

More than monuments, that will be the legacy of 9/11 –- a legacy of firefighters who walked into fire and soldiers who signed up to serve; of workers who raised new towers, and citizens who faced down their private fears. Most of all, of children who realized the dreams of their parents. It will be said that we kept the faith; that we took a painful blow, and we emerged stronger than before.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at “A Concert for Hope”

Source: WH, 9-11-11

Kennedy Center Washington, D.C.
8:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  The Bible tells us — “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Ten years ago, America confronted one of our darkest nights.  Mighty towers crumbled.  Black smoke billowed up from the Pentagon.  Airplane wreckage smoldered on a Pennsylvania field.  Friends and neighbors, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters –- they were taken from us with a heartbreaking swiftness and cruelty.  And on September 12, 2001, we awoke to a world in which evil was closer at hand, and uncertainty clouded our future.

In the decade since, much has changed for Americans.  We’ve known war and recession, passionate debates and political divides.  We can never get back the lives that were lost on that day or the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars that followed.

And yet today, it is worth remembering what has not changed.  Our character as a nation has not changed.  Our faith -– in God and in each other –- that has not changed.  Our belief in America, born of a timeless ideal that men and women should govern themselves; that all people are created equal, and deserve the same freedom to determine their own destiny –- that belief, through tests and trials, has only been strengthened.

These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear.  The rescue workers who rushed to the scene, the firefighters who charged up the stairs, the passengers who stormed the cockpit — these patriots defined the very nature of courage.  Over the years we’ve also seen a more quiet form of heroism — in the ladder company that lost so many men and still suits up and saves lives every day, the businesses that have been rebuilt from nothing, the burn victim who has bounced back, the families who press on.

Last spring, I received a letter from a woman named Suzanne Swaine.  She had lost her husband and brother in the Twin Towers, and said that she had been robbed of, “so many would-be proud moments where a father watches their child graduate, or tend a goal in a lacrosse game, or succeed academically.”  But her daughters are in college, the other doing well in high school.  “It has been 10 years of raising these girls on my own,” Suzanne wrote.  “I could not be prouder of their strength and resilience.”  That spirit typifies our American family.  And the hopeful future for those girls is the ultimate rebuke to the hateful killers who took the life of their father.

These past 10 years have shown America’s resolve to defend its citizens, and our way of life.  Diplomats serve in far off posts, and intelligence professionals work tirelessly without recognition.  Two million Americans have gone to war since 9/11. They have demonstrated that those who do us harm cannot hide from the reach of justice, anywhere in the world.  America has been defended not by conscripts, but by citizens who choose to serve -– young people who signed up straight out of high school, guardsmen and reservists, workers and business-people, immigrants and fourth-generation soldiers.  They are men and women who left behind lives of comfort for two, three, four, five tours of duty.  Too many will never come home.  Those that do carry dark memories from distant places and the legacy of fallen friends.

The sacrifices of these men and women, and of our military families, reminds us that the wages of war are great; that while service to our nation is full of glory, war itself is never glorious.  Our troops have been to lands unknown to many Americans a decade ago -– to Kandahar and Kabul; to Mosul and Basra.  But our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace.

These 10 years have shown that we hold fast to our freedoms.  Yes, we’re more vigilant against those who threaten us, and there are inconveniences that come with our common defense.  Debates –- about war and peace, about security and civil liberties –- have often been fierce these last 10 years.  But it is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values and our democracy, that is the measure of our strength.  Meanwhile, our open markets still provide innovators the chance to create and succeed, our citizens are still free to speak their minds, and our souls are enriched in churches and temples, our synagogues and our mosques.

These past 10 years underscores the bonds between all Americans.  We have not succumbed to suspicion, nor have we succumbed to mistrust.  After 9/11, to his great credit, President Bush made clear what we reaffirm today:  The United States will never wage war against Islam or any other religion.  Immigrants come here from all parts of the globe.  And in the biggest cities and the smallest towns, in schools and workplaces, you still see people of every conceivable race and religion and ethnicity -– all of them pledging allegiance to the flag, all of them reaching for the same American dream –- e pluribus unum, out of many, we are one.

These past 10 years tell a story of our resilience.  The Pentagon is repaired, and filled with patriots working in common purpose.  Shanksville is the scene of friendships forged between residents of that town, and families who lost loved ones there.  New York — New York remains the most vibrant of capitals of arts and industry and fashion and commerce.  Where the World Trade Center once stood, the sun glistens off a new tower that reaches towards the sky.

Our people still work in skyscrapers.  Our stadiums are still filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball.  Our airports hum with travel, and our buses and subways take millions where they need to go.  And families sit down to Sunday dinner, and students prepare for school.  This land pulses with the optimism of those who set out for distant shores, and the courage of those who died for human freedom.

Decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who were lost on 9/11.  They’ll run their fingers over the places where the names of those we loved are carved into marble and stone, and they may wonder at the lives that they led.  And standing before the white headstones in Arlington, and in peaceful cemeteries and small-town squares in every corner of the country, they will pay respects to those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They’ll see the names of the fallen on bridges and statues, at gardens and schools.

And they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America.  They will remember that we’ve overcome slavery and Civil War; we’ve overcome bread lines and fascism and recession and riots, and communism and, yes, terrorism.  They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy –- reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man -– also give us the opportunity to perfect our union.  That is what we honor on days of national commemoration –- those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.

More than monuments, that will be the legacy of 9/11 –- a legacy of firefighters who walked into fire and soldiers who signed up to serve; of workers who raised new towers, and citizens who faced down their private fears.  Most of all, of children who realized the dreams of their parents.  It will be said that we kept the faith; that we took a painful blow, and we emerged stronger than before.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

With a just God as our guide, let us honor those who have been lost, let us rededicate ourselves to the ideals that define our nation, and let us look to the future with hearts full of hope.

May God bless the memory of those we lost, and may God bless the United States of America.

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Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s 9-11 Message to the Families — Remarks at National September 11 Memorial in New York & United Flight 93 Memorial

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

President Obama’s Message to 9/11 Families

Source: WH, 9-11-11

President Obama has a message for those who lost loved ones on that terrible day, ten years ago: “We can never replace all that you have lost.  But what we can do, what we will do, is honor the memory of your loved ones by being the best country we can be, and by standing with you and your families, now and forever.”

The President and Mrs Obama commemorated today’s sad anniversary by attending memorial services at the three sites where the planes went down, and once again met with many of the families. The First Family have been touched by the grief that still lingers:

Despite heartache that never goes away, you’ve done what your loved ones would have wanted.  You’ve learned to live and laugh and love again.  Your courage, your resilience has been an inspiration to my family, and an inspiration to the American people.  Through you, we’ve been reminded that, as a people, we don’t simply endure, we can emerge stronger than before.

In quiet moments of remembrance, some of you have shared with Michelle and me the beauty of their lives, the anguish of your loss and the pain of these past ten years.  And I realize that there are no words than can ever fill the hole in your hearts.

But today I want to say again—your loved ones live on in you and in the life of our nation, which will never forget them.  In their name, we’ll never waver in our efforts to prevent another attack on our shores and to spare other families the heartbreak you have known.  In their name, we’ll continue to deliver justice to those who took the people you loved most in the world.  And in their name, we will come together, in spirit of national service, to honor your loved ones, as one American family.

President Obama and First Lady Join Services to Commemorate Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

Source: WH, 9-11-11

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush at the National September 11 Memorial President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, walk along the western edge of the North Pool at the National September 11 Memorial in New York, N.Y., prior to a commemoration ceremony on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are marking the tenth anniversary of the worst attacks on our country by joining ceremonies at each of the three sites where the planes crashed on September 11, 2001. Their first stop was New York City, where they joined the annual service that includes reading the names of all of the almost 3,000 victims. The President and First Lady joined former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush at the new September 11 Memorial, which features two reflecting pools built over the towers’ footprints where the names of the victims are etched in bronze.

Following a moment of silence at 8:46 AM, the exact moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center ten years ago, the President read Psalm 46 from the Bible:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake
with its swelling,
there’s a river
whose streams shall make glad
the City of God,
the holy place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her.
She shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged,
the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord
who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough
and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a wreath laying ceremony in Shanksville PAPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a wreath laying ceremony to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, and to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

From New York, the Obamas traveled to Shanksville, Pa., where they walked along the Wall of Names that honors the 40 brave Americans who were on Flight 93,  the plane that crashed at Shanksville, and placed a wreath at the site. The President also placed a wreath at a memorial at the Pentagon, where the 184 victims are each remembered with a bench and small reflecting pool. Sunday evening, the President and the First Lady will attend A Concert for Hope at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

The President declared September 11 a national day of service and remembrance to honor those killed in the attacks, those who responded 10 years ago and those who have served in our military during in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday, the First Family participated in a service project in Washington, DC.

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs a woman at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville PAPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet people on the rope line while attending a ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
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On This Day in History… September 11, 2001: President Barack Obama & Former President George W. Bush Observe the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terror Attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, Pentagon & United Flight 93 with Memorials

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

Day in History

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: 10th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11 TERROR ATTACKS

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

From left: Laura Bush, George W. Bush, Michelle Obama and President Obama observe a moment of silence at the National September 11 Memorial. | AP Photo

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

On this day in history… September 11, 2001… Terrorists hijack two passenger planes crashing them into New York’s World Trade Towers causing the collapse of the 110-story twin towers& death of 2,752 people.
Terrorists hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the Pentagon causing the death of 125 people.
Attempt by passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 to retake control of their hijacked plane from terrorists causes plane to crash in Pennsylvania field killing all 64 people onboard.

What was 9/11?: On September 11, 2001, 19 members of a terrorist group called al-Qaeda hijacked four U.S. airplanes and used them to strike various targets on the East Coast. The carefully planned attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, making it the worst attack on the United States in history…. – WaPo, 9-10-11

QUOTES

Archives: President George W. Bush’s Address to the Nation after Terror Attacks (Full Text) — Globe & Mail, 8-26-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 9-11 “A Concert for Hope” — Kennedy Center in Washington, DC WH, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s 9-11 Message to the Families — Remarks at National September 11 Memorial in New York & United Flight 93 Memorial WH, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon, Washington DC WH, 9-11-11

9/11 anniversary: President Obama’s reading at World Trade Center LAT, 9-11-11

Bush Reads From Lincoln Letter at Ground Zero: Former President George W. Bush read a letter President Abraham Lincoln wrote to a widow who lost five sons in the Civil War during commemorations for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero in New York. (Sept. 11)… – AP, 9-11-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President George W. Bush’s Speech at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania Fox News, 9-10-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden, President George W. Bush & President Bill Clinton at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania WH, 9-10-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Marks the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the September 11th Terror Attacks & Pays Tribute to the First Responders WH, 9-10-11

“”It will be said that we kept the faith. That we took a painful blow, and we emerged stronger than ever before.
It is worth remembering what has not changed — our character as a nation has not changed.
These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear.
The rescue workers who rushed to the scene; the firefighters who charged up the stairs; the passengers who stormed the cockpit — these patriots defined the very nature of courage.
Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball…..
Too many will never come home. Those that do carry dark memories from distant places, and the legacy of fallen friends.”
Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace.
Debates — about war and peace; about security and civil liberties — have often been fierce these last ten years. But it is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values and our democracy, that is the measure of our strength.
After 9/11, to his great credit, President Bush made clear what we reaffirm today: the United States will never wage war against Islam or any other religion. Immigrants come here from all parts of the globe.
They will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy — reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man — also gives us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration — those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.” — President Obama at “A Concert for Hope” at the Kennedy Center in Washington

    • Obama’s remarks at Sept. 11 observance in NY: Text of President Barack Obama’s remarks at New York City’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as provided by the White House. He read from Psalm 46…. – AP, 9-11-11

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” — — President Obama, Psalm 46

“President Lincoln not only understood the heartbreak of his country, he also understood the cost to sacrifice and reached out to console those in sorrow.” — Fromer President George W. Bush

“Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.
But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
‘A. Lincoln'” —
ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S LETTER TO MRS BIXBY, 1864, Washington, November 21, 1864 read by Former President George W. Bush at the 9/11 Memorial

“Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadows. And although we can never ‘unsee’ what happened here … we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born, and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.” — New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in opening the ceremony

“They were our neighbors, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents. They were the ones who rushed in to help, 2,983 innocent men, women and children. We have asked their families to come here to speak the names out loud to remind each of us of a person we lost in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania.” — New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in opening the ceremony

“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere.” — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

“Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.” — former New York Governor George Pataki read the last verse of “No words cried out so fully from the broken heart of our nation as those of a poem called “The Names,” written a year after the attacks, by the United States’ Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

“Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.” — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay

“If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand
to do something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you.”
— New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also turned to a poet, Mary Lee Hall, who wrote “Turn Again To Life”

“I know these memorials — and you’ve been through many — are bittersweet moments for you, because as you sit here right now, unlike a month ago, everything’s come back in stark relief. It’s not a thought, it’s precise. You remember that God-awful empty feeling, you remember being sucked into your own chest and that feeling of hollowness. But I want you to know something else. Your physical presence here today gives hope to thousands of Americans who under different circumstances are trying to come to grips with the losses that you had.” — Vice President Joe Biden attended the Pentagon ceremony

Ten years ago today, ordinary Americans went to work or boarded a plane and found themselves fighting on the frontlines of a battle they did not choose. They acquitted themselves with grace and courage, just as the thousands of men and women who enlisted to fight in our armed forces— many on the anniversaries of this day—in order to exact justice for their fellow Americans. We will never forget those who died ten years ago today, we will never forget those who died in the war that started on that day, and we ask God to comfort and bless their families. From across this great nation, grateful Americans honor those who defend our homeland. God bless America. — Sarah Palin

“What happened above this Pennsylvania field was among the most courageous acts in American history. For as long as this memorial stands, we’ll remember … the sacrifice they made and the lives they spared. The United States will never forget…. Americans are alive today because the passengers and crew of Flight 93 chose to act, and our nation will be forever grateful.” — Former President George W. Bush at United Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

“There has always been a special place in the common memory for people who deliberately, knowingly, certainly lay down their lives for other people to live.” — Former President Bill Clinton at United Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

“Ten years later, I’d say America came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character. Some things haven’t happened as quickly as they needed to. But overall, we took the fight to al- Qaeda, we preserved our values, we preserved our character.” — President Barack Obama in an interview with NBC News

Bush After 9/11 Says He Has No Regrets: “The work that was done by intelligence communities during my presidency was part of putting together the puzzle that enabled us to see the full picture of how bin Laden was communicating and eventually where he was hiding. It began the day after 9/11.

I, of course, remember (White House Chief of Staff Andy Card) whispering in my ear. I remember the faces of the children. … It was a moment of clarity because people were going to watch how I reacted, and I had enough experience with crises to understand that if you’re head of an organization, it’s important to project calm in the initial stages of a crisis.

The key thing that I tried to do was to say let’s gather facts so we know what’s happening. The problem that I faced — and the truth of the matter is, many in my administration faced — was during certain moments during the day, there was a fog of war, and the information flow was just really inaccurate. … We needed to take steps to make sure that the attack was a four- plane attack, not a 10-plane attack. We just didn’t know. … My mind eventually became focused on finding out who did it and seeking justice, but initially it was respond and prevent.

There were moments when I said I’d like to be alone and just thinking through the ramifications and making sure that my thoughts were clear. I prayed for the victims. I prayed for our country. I would see people jump off buildings, and it just was horrific, but I was also determined to lead the country.

The first two statements were on the fly. I didn’t realize I had missed the mark. … I just did the best I could do given the circumstances, but obviously it wasn’t the best setting for a president to try to calm the nerves of the country. I wanted to speak from the Oval Office. I wasn’t going to address our nation from a bunker. It would have been a huge psychological victory for the people who attacked.

The job of the president was to say here are the facts, here’s what we’re dealing with, and deal with them. Not to feel sorry for yourself, or not to say why did it happen under my watch? That’s not a leadership trait that is admirable. … I felt like I had the capacity to deal with the crisis, and you don’t know until it happens. When I look back on it, I don’t feel a sense of being overwhelmed.
Not that I can think of. I mean, I think the response, laying out tools so that future presidents can have a better chance to protect the country, it’s a legacy that I hope historians will say, ‘It’s a good legacy: He used tools that he thought were necessary and then he helped work with the Congress to codify them, so future presidents, if they so choose, can use those tools.’

My mind was just churning over the events, the response, the information that had been given through a variety of National Security Council meetings. … And then just as I was kind of dozing off, (a Secret Service agent said) ‘Mr. President,’ and off we go. I had the T-shirt on and the running shorts and grabbed Laura, who didn’t have her contacts on, grabbed (dog) Barney. We must have been looking like a motley crew as we headed down. … It was almost surreal, these big pneumatic doors as you’re heading into the bowels of the White House, guys in black uniforms and guns.
I didn’t want to sleep down there because I knew I needed to be rested for the next day, and the bed looked horrible. Harry Truman must have bought the bed. It was one of those pullouts with a metal bar in the middle. I was envisioning Laura and I kind of fighting for the soft space.” — ABC News, 9-11-11

HEADLINES

    • 9/11 Remembered 9/11: The 25 Most Powerful Photos: One decade after 9/11, an unsettling number of images from Ground Zero and its environs remain seared in our collective memory — unsurprising, perhaps, given the scope and scale of the destruction. But the fact that the deadliest, most visually arresting attacks occurred in New York City also meant that many of the world’s best photographers were, in effect, already on the scene when the terrorists struck. Here, to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and in hopes of lending coherence to our shared, turbulent recollections, LIFE.com presents the 25 most stirring, visceral photographs from that day, featuring pictures from the likes of James Nachtwey, Joe Raedle, Spencer Platt, Mario Tama, and other celebrated photojournalists (and one intrepid amateur). These are the pictures we remember: wrenching, indelible photographs that tell the tale of a still- resonant late summer day that changed everything…. – Yahoo News

9/11 LIVE: Scenes from the 9/11 anniversary: As the nation and the world mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Associated Press journalists are tracking down the most salient details of the day, and capturing the mood, from ground zero to Afghanistan and everywhere in between…. – AO, 9-11-11

    • Once More, an Outpouring of Grief on 9/11 A Day That Stands Alone in History: Thousands gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that dramatically changed a city and a nation…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Obama’s day, from mourning to hope: It was a day to mourn the memory of things past while hoping that resilience will create a brighter future as President Obama visited all three sites scarred the deadliest act of terrorism in the nation’s history on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. … – LAT, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Obama closes day with “Concert for Hope”: Closing a day of 9/11 remembrances at a “Concert for Hope” in Washington, D.C., President Obama reminded Americans Sunday evening of their resilience as he paid tribute to the losses suffered a decade ago while recalling the country’s enduring values.
      “Ten years ago, America confronted one of our darkest nights,” the president said from the stage of the Kennedy Center along the banks of the Potomac River. “Yet today, it is worth remembering what has not changed.”
      “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear,’ the president said, citing the rescue workers who rushed to help on Sept. 11, 2001, and the passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93.
      Obama hailed the services of the more than 2 million Americans who have served in the volunteer military over the last decade, even as he warned of the price of war…. – LAT, 9-11-11
    • Obama Concludes 9/11 Anniversary at the Kennedy Center: After stops in New York City, Shanksville, PA, and at the Pentagon, the president finished his day of 9/11 tributes with the “Concert for Hope” at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center. Following performances by the Marine Chamber Orchestra, Washington National Cathedral Choir, Alan Jackson, Denyce Graves, and Patti LaBelle, Obama gave a speech in which he called the United States “stronger than before” the terrorist attacks ten years ago. Opening with a passage from the bible (“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”), he focused on themes of resilience and sacrifice. Obama also touched on some of the less inspiring byproducts of the tragedy, including the country’s ongoing wars in the Middle East, debates over civil liberties, and racial and religious tensions, making sure to reaffirm that, “The United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion.” Mostly, though, he struck an optimistic tone, telling listeners that future generations would visit 9/11 memorials for a reminder that, “Nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America.”… – New York Magazine, 9-11-11
    • Obama: America does not give in to fear: Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, America has emerged stronger and its character remains unchanged, President Obama said Sunday.
      “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear,” the president said at a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, the last in a series of events Mr. Obama attended to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks. ” Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball.”
      The president spoke of young girls who lost their father in the attack on the Twin Towers and said their hopeful future is the “ultimate rebuke” to the terrorists who took their father’s life…. – CBS News, 9-11-11
    • Obama: U.S. Stronger After 9/11: It was a long, solemn Sunday for President Obama, who marked the 9/11 anniversary by saying that the past decade has been “a story of American resilience.” In his final speech of the day in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening, Obama said that despite the problems of the past 10 years, America is stronger. He said, “It will be said that we kept that faith. That we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger than ever before.” He also reminded Americans that it’s worth remembering what has not changed since the attacks: the nation’s character. He also referred to some of the debates over policy that many have found frustrating in recent months, saying, “It is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values, that is a measure of our strength.”… – The Daily Beast, 9-11-11 USA Today, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Ceremony at World Trade Center 10 years after September 11: Ten years after the darkest day in American history, the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and officials including President Obama and former President Bush gathered to honor those lost. Ten years after the darkest day in American history…. – New York Daily News, 9-11-11
    • Obamas ‘particularly moved’ at 911 site: President Obama was impressed by the memorial at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, and he and the first lady were “particularly moved” by the readings during Sunday’s service there, spokesman Josh Earnest said…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • Why Obama picked Psalm 46 to read at New York 9-11 anniversary: President Obama read Psalm 46 at the New York ceremony Sunday marking the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
      Principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest explained why Obama selected that psalm. “The President chose a scripture which he believed was most appropriate — he believed it was particularly appropriate to use — to read scripture this morning. And he chose a passage that talks of persevering through very difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger,” Earnest said…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 9-11-11
    • Obama and Bush lead 9/11 observance: Under a sky as clear as the one that filled with flames, smoke and ash the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, tens of thousands of people gathered at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan Sunday morning to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks that day and to reflect on the tumultuous decade that followed.
      Ten years after two airplanes flying low over New York struck the twin towers, killing 2,753 people, President Barack Obama was joined by his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, in paying tribute to the victims, their loved ones and a nation changed by force, and by will. Counting the casualties from a third plane that crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed by hijackers into a field in Shanksville, Pa., 2,977 people died on 9/11.
      It was the first time Obama and Bush have appeared together at Ground Zero, site of the most deadly of the attacks that defined Bush’s presidency while greatly shaping Obama’s – and it was their first meeting since January, 2010…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • America marks 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 terror attacks: A moment of silence at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The reading of names in a grassy western Pennsylvania field. A visit, by President Obama, to the Arlington National Cemetery graves of 60 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
      With these solemn gestures, Americans across the world began marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia and World Trade Center in New York.
      Under sunny skies, reminiscent of the clear blue morning 10 years ago when hijackers crashed four jetliners, killing nearly 3,000 people, ceremonies began Sunday morning at Ground Zero. Obama and former president George W. Bush, along with their wives, walked slowly along the North Memorial Pool, where the north Trade Center tower fell…. – WaPo, 9-11-11
    • America Remembers Terror Victims, Honors ‘9/11 Generation of Warriors’: AP President Obama lays a wreath as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks are observed at the Pentagon Sept. 11. Americans told stories of loved ones, read from Scripture and waved the flag Sunday as they honored the memories of those who died…. – Fox News, 9-11-11
    • N.Y.C.: Moments of silence at ground zero: Moments of silence were observed in New York City Sunday on the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed nearly 3,000 people….
      Sixty bagpipe players and drummers led the World Trade flag through the memorial, where the flag was unfolded and held aloft by the Honor Guard…. – CBS News, 9-11-11
    • George W Bush addresses mourning families with Abraham Lincoln letter as he commemorates lives lost on 9/11: Former U.S. President George W Bush read a letter today written by Abraham Lincoln as he addressed the families of thousands of victims killed on 9/11 this morning.
      Commemorating the sacrifices of those lost in the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush cited Lincoln’s letter to Mrs Lydia Bixby, penned in 1864.
      The text, regarded highly among Lincoln’s finest works of writing, addresses a bereaved mother of five sons who were thought to have died while fighting for the Union in the Civil War…. – Daily Mail UK, 9-11-11
    • Bush and Obama: Side by Side: At ground zero, the president defined by his response to Sept. 11 and the one who has tried to take America beyond the lingering, complicated legacy of that day…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Bush and Obama: Side by Side at Ground Zero: For the first time on Sunday, President Obama and former President George W. Bush stood together at the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, listening as family members read the names of lost love ones and bowing their heads…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • At Pentagon, No Words Will Fill Void: Families of the 184 people who died in the attack remember the moment…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • In Shanksville, a Silent Field: At 10:03 a.m., instead of an explosion, there was quiet remembrance…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • In Pennsylvania, a Wall of Names: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, placed a large wreath at the memorial…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Obama, Bush see raw emotions at 9/11 events: * Obama continues war on militants begun by Bush
      * Two appear together for first time in 18 months
      * Obama: U.S. overcomes slavery, fascism, terrorism (Updates with Obama remarks)
      President Barack Obama picked up where his predecessor George W. Bush left off in the war against Islamic militants after the Sept. 11 attacks, and on Sunday both saw the raw emotions that linger 10 years later.
      The 10th anniversary of the attacks marked the first time the Democratic and Republican presidents have appeared together publicly since January 2010. But, joined by their wives, the two men made a show of solidarity at Ground Zero in New York, walking in tandem along a memorial pool at the site of the north tower of the World Trade Center. [ID:nS1E78A00A]
      They nodded their heads during a moment of silence, the only sound the roaring of the waterfall in the pool.
      Afterward, they appeared together behind bullet-proof glass near where the names of those killed on Sept. 11 were read aloud…. – Reuters, 9-11-11
    • U.S. marks 10 years since 9/11 with solemnity, prayer: With simple and solemn ceremony, the United States marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Sunday with prayer and remembrances at the sites where thousands of Americans died.
      President Barack Obama was joined by former President George W. Bush at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, a moment of bipartisan unity to honor the dead reminiscent of the way the country came together in the wake of the attacks.
      Hand in hand with their wives, they walked to the site as the ceremony opened at 8:46 am, the precise moment the first hijacked plane smashed into the first tower. A church bell rang twice…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-11-11
    • Families, dignitaries mourn at World Trade Center in N.Y.: Beneath a cloudless sky eerily reminiscent of the fateful day 10 years ago, officials, families of those killed and other mourners gathered on Sunday in a national day of commemoration at the site of the World Trade Center to recall the terror attack in New York City.
      In a show of unity that crossed party lines, President Obama and former President George W. Bush led dignitaries at the site. They and their wives toured the North Memorial Pool, the scene of the fallen north tower that collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
      Each president held his spouse’s hand and the quartet made its way around a wall that is etched with the names of the nearly 3,000 who died in the collapse of the towers.
      Then Obama and Bush hugged some family members of those killed and went over to pay respects to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who rose to national prominence for his handling of the crisis. Also attending were present and former governors…. – LAT, 9-11-11
    • President Obama Honors 9/11 Victims at WTC Site: President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama today paid respect to 9/11 victims by visiting the North Memorial Pool in the footprint of the spot where the north tower of the World Trade Center stood on this 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack…. – ABC News, 9-11-11
    • Remembering those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks: With solemn gestures, Americans across the country mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia and the World Trade Center in New York…. – WaPo, 9-11-11
    • Americans mark 9/11 anniversary: The United States is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with the country in a sombre mood and on high security alert. President Barack Obama attended a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero … – Financial Times, 9-11-11
    • America Remembers the September 11 Attacks: With solemn tributes, the United States is marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 people and launched the country into a decade of war. Events were held at the sites of each attack a decade ago…. – Voice of America, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 Remembered as Officials Monitor Threat: U.S. President Barack Obama joined former President George W. Bush at the World Trade Center in Manhattan to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, reading a passage from the Bible at a ceremony attended by the families of the victims.
      Obama was later greeted with cheers and applause at a memorial in Pennsylvania, where he laid a wreath at the site near Shanksville where one of four hijacked airliners crashed. The New York ceremony, in the shadow of a new skyscraper that will be the tallest building in the U.S., took place while thousands of police officers worked overtime under a terror alert stemming from what Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a “credible but not corroborated” threat.
      The president was joined at Ground Zero by Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Christopher Christie of New Jersey. The men read letters, poems and religious passages as surviving family members recited the names of the victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Also honored were the six killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center…. – Bloomberg, 9-11-11
    • Ground Zero ceremony honours 9/11 victims: The names of the September 11 dead, some called out by children barely old enough to remember their fallen mothers and fathers, have echoed across Ground Zero in a haunting but hopeful tribute on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks. … – Sydney Morning Herald, 9-11-11
    • In Shanksville, Thousands Gather to Honor Flight 93 Victims: The dedication of a memorial here on Saturday to the 40 passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, provided an opportunity for two former presidents to appeal for unity.
      Ten years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a special report on the decade’s costs and consequences, measured in thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and countless challenges to the human spirit.
      Neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton specifically mentioned the fractured state of relations in Washington. But their sharing of a stage and their comments here in a field where Flight 93 slammed into the ground stood in sharp contrast to the current discord…. – NYT, 9-10-11
    • United 93 families dedicate Sept. 11 memorial: Vice President Joe Biden joins Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush in Pennsylvania to honor the passengers and crew who fought back that day…. – LAT, 9-10-11
    • Bush, Clinton speak at memorial for Flight 93: Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton spoke solemnly Saturday at the unveiling of the memorial for victims of United Airlines Flight 93.
      “With their brave decision, they launched the first counteroffensive in the war on terror,” said Bush, who appeared emotional as he spoke near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to families and friends of those who died in the crash.
      All 40 passengers and crew members were killed after confronting hijackers aboard the Boeing 757 on the morning of September 11, 2001.
      The hijacked plane, widely believed to be targeting the White House or the U.S. Capitol, crashed in a field outside Shanksville…. – CNN, 9-10-11
    • Flight 93 Honored in Pennsylvania: The 40 passengers and crew who fought back against their hijackers aboard Flight 93, which crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 and never reached its target, were honored Saturday for their heroism in a ceremony dedicating the first phase of a memorial at the newest U.S. national park.
      “They never made it because of the determination and valor of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, that plane crashed in this field, less than 20 minutes by air” from Washington, D.C., where it appeared to be headed, said Jon Jarvis, director of the … – WSJ, 9-10-11
    • Obama, Bush, Clinton Remember Sept. 11: Former US presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for a ceremony dedicating a memorial to the victims of United Flight 93, which crashed into a field during the September 11th, 2001 attacks. … – Voice of America, 9-10-11
    • Obama tells NBC country is safer than it was 10 years ago: Reflecting on the 9/11 anniversary, President Obama told NBC News this morning that there is no doubt the United States is safer now that it was 10 years ago. He said this is a consequence of more effective homeland security and the US taking the fight…. – ABC News, 9-11-11
    • For 9/11 anniversary, Obama honors war dead at Arlington: President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama have visited Arlington National Cemetery where they paid tribute to members of the military killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
      One day before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Obamas made a pilgrimage to Section 60 of the cemetery. The White House says that’s the burial ground for military personnel killed in those two wars. Those conflicts have claimed 6,213 military personnel…. – The Virginian-Pilot, 9-10-11
    • George W. Bush lays wreath at Pentagon: Former President George W. Bush has paid silent tribute to Sept. 11 victims in a wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
      Bush was joined by his wife, Laura, as he placed a wreath of white flowers by the 9/11 memorial stone embedded in the wall outside Corridor 4. That’s near where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building, killing 184 people.
      Also at Saturday’s brief ceremony were Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen…. – Politico, 9-10-11
    • September 11 commemorated by Obama in address: President Barack Obama commemorated Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in his weekly address Saturday, urging the nation to come together and remember those who lost their lives. “We’re remembering the lives we lost—nearly 3000…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • Obama pays tribute to 9/11 victims, vows America will be vigilant in weekly address: President Obama will take part in the memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center site Sunday. How concerned are you about a terrorist plot? President Obama used his weekly address to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept 11…. – New York Daily News, 9-10-11
    • President Marks 9/11 Anniversary in Weekly Address: President Barack Obama used his weekly address today to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and pay tribute to the first responders, the nation’s military members, and those who lost their lives…. – Department of Defense, 9-10-11
    • Remembering the audacity of the twin towers: The soaring twin towers of the World Trade Center became an affirmation of the American value of dreaming big. To the engineer who designed them, their loss on 9/11 remains heartbreaking, but he’s found the resilience to keep dreaming…. – CS Monitor, 9-10-11
    • How 9/11 looked from the air-traffic control center that saw it coming: The air-traffic controllers in ‘Boston Center’ – the facility that oversaw Flight 11 – speak of what happened on 9/11, from the confusion of the first moments to the frustration that military jets could not get to New York City faster…. – CS Monitor, 9-10-11
    • Witness: With President Bush after the planes hit on Sept 11: Two Reuters reporters traveled with George W. Bush on September 11, 2001 on what began as a feel-good trip to Florida to promote education.
      Here are some of their memories of that day, and those that followed, as they watched Bush’s evolution from the leader of a country enjoying peace and prosperity to a wartime president…. – Reuters, 9-11-11

Obama’s 9/11 speech: national unity, personal loss: Searching for unity long vanished since the day terrorists astonished America, President Barack Obama will hail national resilience and remember hurting families when he gives the main speech of his Sept. 11 commemorations.
Obama will honor victims at each of the sites where nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 2001 attacks — first at ground zero in lower Manhattan, then in Shanksville, Pa. and at the Pentagon. Yet his only address to the nation will come at night, lasting about 15 minutes during an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington…. – AP, 9-9-11

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

    • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: Historians Discuss What’s Changed, What Hasn’t After 9/11: From Americans’ collective outrage and response right following the 9/11 attacks to today’s political divisions, Jeffrey Brown speaks with historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith about what has changed — and what hasn’t — in the United States since the 9/11 attacks…. – PBS Newshour, 9-121-11

RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. We’ve been obsessed understandably with all that’s changed. A great deal has changed. We should begin by acknowledging that the greatest change obviously is for those who lost a loved one 10 years ago today or in the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Life will never be the same for them.
To the rest of us, there’s a certain amount of trauma. I think geography is a factor. I think if you live in New York, it’s much more real than if you’re in Terre Haute. Much of what has changed, like the proverbial iceberg, is beneath the surface. Government, we’re all thinking about this, the age of cutting back on government, the fact is government has been transformed, expanded by, I saw one estimate $600 billion has been spent over the last ten years on domestic security. New agencies have been created. Old agendas have been torn up.
On the other hand, think of what hasn’t changed. We had a brief moment of unity, of coming together, of common purpose, of collective outrage and a collective response. And that seems very much to be in the rear-view mirror….

Something I think we can take great pride in, and that is if you look back at earlier wars, World War I, World War II, along with the fervor, the patriotic ardor can come fear and civil liberties can be endangered. Famously, German-Americans came under attack during World War I. Sauerkraut was renamed liberty cabbage. Beethoven records were smashed in the streets of Cincinnati. There may be a direct connection between liberty cabbage and freedom fries, but I think there has been an enormous… um, we saw Ray’s piece earlier.

The danger, and I understand her concern, the fact is there will undoubtedly people who say, we’ve built the memorial. You know, we’ve dedicated this shrine, and as you said, there are other problems that are crowding for our attention. History is not static. And certainly not in as dynamic a society as this.
On the other hand, the issues surrounding 9/11, the questions arising out of 9/11, whether it’s civil liberties, for example, or the role of government in protecting us or projecting force around the world American foreign policy, all of those that have been filtered through 9/11 will be at the heart of this election, and so in that sense the conversation goes on.

Come back in 30 or 40 years and ask whether 9/11, in fact, was as some fear the beginning of a longer period of American decline or, in fact, a springboard to a new era of American greatness.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, presidential historian: That’s right, you know. And right after 9/11, people said and, you know, you sure wish it had come true, that we would never have the same kind of partisan antagonism we had before because 9/11 brought us all together as Americans. And this would be not only a different country and a different politics. Go back a couple months and take a look at that congressional fight over the debt crisis and you will see that 9/11 sadly did not change our politics in that way.

Well, I think to look at a positive one, it’s you know another thing we all talked about was living in America would never be the same again. That we would be afraid to go to shopping malls, to airports or to train stations or there would be a permanent sadness in some way. Those things have not turned out to be true. So anyone who thinks that there is something in our DNA that really does make this society a group of Americans I think has been proven right.

I think for instance we were talking earlier about our own memories on 9/11. I had just been to my younger son’s kindergarten. He was just about five years old, got in the car to go home and heard the first reports of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. He was almost five. Changed our lives. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t quite get it.

Well, I think one way of looking at it is you know what Churchill said about there is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at without result? We were hit on 9/11. It sure was not without result, but this country really has come back. And so, if you remember where we were ten years ago and compare that to now, I think really we should, while being very sad about what happened and those that lost their lives and their families, there’s an element of this about which we should feel exhilarated.

That is going to depend on how secure the world we live in is during the next couple of decades. If this turned out to be essentially one event, we conquered it then it will be almost a singular event in American history. But if we are living, and I’m afraid this may be true, with the scourge of terrorism through the rest of our lifetimes and beyond, this will be something that essentially opened our eyes to a reality that is going to always be there.

“The people who died on 9/11 weren’t members of the armed forces. They were civilians. They were normal people. That places this in a category all its own as a terrible, terrible day in American history. We’ve had a lot of terrible days in our history, but people never signed up for that…. It’s very visceral for a lot of people. We feel it with our guts, not our heads.” — Jonathan Earle, an associate professor of history at Kansas University

9/11 Left Permanent Scars on the American Psyche A moment in history unlike any other, experts say: “I’m a historian, not a psychologist, but I can tell you that 9/11 has affected the American mentality significantly on several fronts. Of course there’s been a loss of our sense of overall security. And there’s been a loss of our sense of preeminence in the world.
But I think 9/11 has collectively thrown us back, psychologically and politically, into a Cold War mentality. It’s the national belief, not seen since the early to mid-1980s, that we are now, again, in an intractable global struggle with no end in sight. And with that perception of increased vulnerability, there has also been a rise, which many Americans wouldn’t even necessarily realize has taken place, in our willingness to trade off civil liberties and privacy for measures that we believe will make us safer.
It’s very hard to make forecasts about how all this will all play out long-term. But you could argue that, looking back in 50 years, we’ll actually see 9/11 as a major turning point: A permanent change in the American sense of self.” — Ethan Katz, an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati — MSN, 9-11-11

  • Teaching 9/11: How educators are responding 10 years later: Attempts to teach 9/11 has forced educators largely to abandon textbooks in favor of more flexible and vibrant resources – from online art to in-class presentations by witnesses…. – CS Monitor, 9-9-11
  • Teachers tackle lessons of 9/11: The question of when an event becomes history depends on who you ask, said John Johnson, a history professor at the University of Northern Iowa.
    “The sort of old-fashioned view is you need a great deal of perspective, and you probably should give a significant event like 9/11 quite a few years.”
    “I feel different. I believe the more modern view is the morning newspaper or the latest tweet is history.”
    “I would rather have professional historians weighing in on recent events along with everybody else, rather than saying, ‘As a historian, I can’t say anything for 10 years.'”
    “Revisionism is a reality of history, and it is one of the beauties of history because every event will mean different things to different generations and be looked at from different angles.” WCF Courier, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon, Washington DC

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Vice President Biden Marks 9/11 Anniversary at the Pentagon

Source: WH, 9-11-11

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (184MB) | mp3 (18MB)

Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks at the Pentagon this morning, where 184 lives were lost when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the headquarters of the nation’s Department of Defense. Vice President Biden joined Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen at the ceremony set beside the Pentagon Memorial – 184 silver benches, one for each victim, shaded by maple trees.

But before they made their way across the Potomac, the Vice President and Dr. Biden had a quick stop to make – nearby DC Fire Department Engine 20, Truck 12, where they surprised the firefighters on duty with coffee, breakfast, and words of thanks.

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden thank DC firefighters on 9/11

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit firefighters at D.C. Fire Department Engine 20, truck 12, in Washington, DC., Sep. 11, 2011. The Vice President and Dr. Biden stopped by with coffee and breakfast to thank the firefighters for their service. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

The Vice President later remarked on the heroism displayed by DCFD firefighters and other first responders from across the region 10 years ago today. “They sprang to action,” he said, “risking their lives so their friends, their colleagues and total strangers, people they had never met, might live.”

But speaking directly to the families in the audience, Vice President Biden noted something they knew in their hearts before that fateful day. “That your loved ones, those who you lost, who we now call heroes, were already heroes. They were already heroes to you.”

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Pentagon on 9/11

Vice President Joe Biden speaks in front of the Pentagon during a 9/11 Anniversary Service at the Pentagon, in Arlington, VA. Sep. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

“They were the father that tucked you in at night,” he said.  They were the wife who knew your fears before even before you expressed them.  They were the brother who lifted you up.  They were the daughter who made you laugh, and the son who made you proud. … I know in my heart, so do all of the people on this stage know, that they are absolutely irreplaceable – absolutely irreplaceable.”
Vice President Biden went on to describe how out of this tragedy came a new generation of patriots, the 9/11 generation – 2.8 million of whom joined the military since 9/11.
“The true legacy of 9/11 is that our spirit is mightier, the bonds that unite us are thicker, and the resolve is firmer than the million tons of limestone and concrete that make up that great edifice behind me,” the Vice President said. “Al Qaeda and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans.  They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken. They never imagined these things because they did not understand what enables us, what has always enabled us to withstand any test that comes our way.”

 POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by Vice President Biden at the Pentagon 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemoration

Source: WH, 9-11-11
The Pentagon

10:00 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Mr. Secretary, it’s I’m the one who is honored to be given the privilege to speak at such an important memorial ceremony.

Admiral Mullen, Speaker Boehner, members of our armed forces and above all, the family members gathered in front of me who suffered such a grievous loss here 10 years ago today.  My wife, Jill, and I want you to know our heart goes out to you.

And those of you who survived that cowardly act, I say it again, I’m the one that’s honored to be here with you.  To the family members, I know what it’s like to receive that call out of the blue, that the dearest thing in your life is gone.  I know these memorials — and you’ve been through many — are bittersweet moments for you because as you sit here right now, unlike a month ago, everything has come back in stark relief.  It’s not a thought.  It’s precise.  You remember that God-awful empty feeling you remember being sucked into your own chest, that feeling of hollowness.  So I want you to know that I personally believe that the courage you’re showing today is remarkable.  It’s hard to come back.  You have that sense of overwhelming pride and love and devotion, but also that feeling of “oh, my God.”

But I want you to know something else, your physical presence here today gives hope to thousands of Americans who under different circumstances are trying to come to grips with the losses that you had that they’re going through.  Because when they see — they see you here, you let them know that hope can grow from tragedy, and that there can be a second life.

My mom used to say, Joe, at everything terrible something good will come if you look hard enough for it.  In the beginning there’s no way to believe that.  You’re living proof to those people who are still scrambling and looking for that hope that it’s possible.

So let me say that our thoughts — Jill’s thoughts, mine, the whole nation’s thoughts and prayers are with those who also were wounded in this attack last night — wounded in an attack last night in Wardak Province, a stark and vivid reminder this war continues.  The courage, determination and the sacrifices of our forces in Afghanistan and around the world is literally astounding.  I’ll have a little more to say about that in just a moment.

Ladies and gentlemen, milestones are especially — and especially those that are tragic -— compel us to reflect and to remember, to honor and, with God’s help, to heal because that’s what this is ultimately about.

And so today, above all else, we recall 148 [sic] lives cut short on this site 10 years ago this morning -— lives that touched every aspect of our national endeavor: a Marine who lost his leg, and nearly his life, in Vietnam but who used what he called a “second chance” to become a father of five; a three-year-old passenger aboard that fateful flight, who held her stuffed “lambie” each night, as her parents read her bedtime stories; the secretary who worked for American Airlines for 45 years, whose colleagues considered her a second mother, and who dressed as Mrs. Claus each Christmas; the Navy physicist, whose wife said after his death: “He was a wonderful dancer.  I’ll never be able to dance with anybody else.  He was a perfect partner.  And above all, he was a good, caring and loving man.”

And so, so many others are remembered this morning with the moments of silence in small towns and bustling cities all across this country.  But nowhere are the memories more immediate, more vivid, more compelling, more real than in New York City; Shanksville, Pennsylvania and right here in Northern Virginia at the Pentagon.

Although words cannot ease the pain of these losses -— paying tribute by recalling not just the horror of that day but the heroism as well can hopefully give you some comfort and stiffen the resolve of this nation.

At 9:36 a.m., thousands of patriotic Americans were going about their daily business in the building behind me, in this great citadel of our national defense.  And one minute later, 9:37 a.m., an unconscionable tragedy struck.

But what happened — what happened after that was far more remarkable than the damage inflicted in the building behind me. Those who worked in this building, many of you in front of me, and thousands more first responders across the region –firefighters from Arlington County, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, the District of Columbia and many others, they sprang to action, risking their lives so their friends, their colleagues and total strangers, people they had never met, might live.

From corporals to cafeteria workers, right up the chain of the command to the top brass, to Secretary Rumsfeld, who I pay special tribute today; I understand he is here.  Secretary Rumsfeld himself did what he did as a young soldier, a young man, and did all his life — you and he and others streamed into that breach between the 4th and 5th corridors, where the devastation was the greatest, where death came in an instant, but also where there were survivors to be found.

Specialist Beau Doboszenski was a tour guide that morning, on the far side of the building -— so far away, in fact, he never heard the plane hit.  But he shortly felt the commotion.  He could have gone home -— no one would have blamed him.  But he was also a trained EMT and came from a family of firefighters. So when people started streaming out of the building and screaming, he sprinted toward the crash site.  For hours, he altered between treating his co-workers and dashing into the inferno with a team of six men.

Micky Fyock, a volunteer fire chief in Woodsboro, Maryland, 60 miles away, after working all day, when he heard that evening that the rescue workers at the Pentagon needed a fire truck — a small fire truck, small enough to fit through tight places, he knew he had a ‘54 Mack, which was the smallest one around.  So fresh off an all-day shift, he barreled down the highway and battled the blaze all night with thousands of others.

And at dawn, exhausted and covered with soot — with soot, 14 hours on the job, he sat on a bench and confronted [sic] a man — a man who he said was wondering aloud, why am I still alive for had I not been at the dentist, I would have been in the office, my office, totally destroyed, with my colleagues gone.  Why me?

It’s a basic American instinct to respond to crises when help is needed, to confront [sic] the afflicted.   An American instinct summoned by the collective strength of the American people that we see come to the fore in our darkest hours, an instinct that echoes through the ages -— from Pearl Harbor, to Beirut; from Mogadishu to Ground Zero; Flight 93 to right here in the Pentagon.

Those in this building that day knew what they were witnesses.  It was a declaration of war by stateless actors — bent on changing our way of life — who believed that these horrible acts of terror — these horrible acts of terror directed against innocents could buckle our knees, could bend our will, could being to break us and break our resolve.

But they did not know us.  Instead, that same American instinct that sent all of you into the breach between the 4th and 5th corridors, galvanized an entire new generation of patriots —- the 9/11 Generation.

Many of them were just kids on that bright September morning.  But like their grandparents on December 7, 1941, they courageously bore the burden that history had placed on their shoulders.

And as they came of age, they showed up — they showed up to fight for their country, and they’re still showing up.  Two million, eight hundred thousand of that 9/11 Generation moved to join our military since the attacks on 9/11, to finish the war begun here that day.

And they joined — they joined knowing that they were in all likelihood going to be deployed in harm’s way -— and in many cases deployed multiple, multiple times in Afghanistan and Iraq and other dangerous parts of the world.

Those of you, Admiral, who command this building turned this generation, this 9/11 Generation into the finest group of warriors the world has ever known.

Over a decade at war, they pioneered new tactics, mastered new languages, developed and employed advanced new technologies.  They took on responsibilities once reserved only for those with considerably more seniority -— responsibilities that extended beyond the base or the battlefield to the politics of Afghanistan, to the politics of Iraq, to the economies of those countries, and to the development tasks that ultimately will lay the groundwork for us to leave behind stable countries that will not threaten us.

And along with the intelligence community and the law enforcement community, they relentlessly took the fight to al Qaeda and its affiliates.  They were prepared to follow bin Laden to the hell’s gate if necessary.  And they got him.

My God do we owe those special ops folks and intelligence guys who got him, many of whom have subsequently lost their lives.  But we will not stop -— you will not stop —- until al Qaeda is not only disrupted, but completely dismantled and ultimately destroyed.

And one more thing about this 9/11 generation of warriors — never before in our history has America asked so much, over such a sustained period, of an all-volunteer force.  So I can say without fear of contradiction, or being accused of exaggeration, the 9/11 Generation ranks among the greatest our nation has ever produced.  And it was born — it was born — it was born right here on 9/11.  (Applause.)

And as the Admiral said, that generation has paid an incredible price -— 4,478 fallen angels in Iraq and 1,648 in Afghanistan, and more than 40,000 wounded in both countries, some who will require care and support the rest of their lives.

Having visited them multiple times like many of you, I am awed not only by their capability, but their sacrifice today and every day.

The terrorists who attacked the Pentagon, as Leon said, sought to weaken America by shattering this defining symbol of our military might and prowess.  But they failed.  And they also failed for another reason, not just physically failed.  They failed because they continue to fundamentally misunderstand us, as they misunderstood us on that day.  For the true source of American power does not lie within that building because as Americans, we draw our strength from the rich tapestry of our people — just looking at the people before me, looking at the families before me.

The true legacy of 9/11 is that our spirit is mightier, the bonds that unite us are thicker, and the resolve is firmer than the million tons of limestone and concrete that make up that great edifice behind me.

Al Qaeda and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans.  They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken.

They never imagined these things because they did not understand what enables us, what has always enabled us to withstand any test that comes our way.  But you understood.  You knew better than anyone because you knew every time this nation has been attacked — you particularly who wear the uniform — every time this nation is attacked, you knew it only emboldens us to stand up and to strike back.

But you family members, you also knew something else that a lot of us didn’t know that day, that your loved ones, those who you lost, who we now call heroes, were already heroes.  They were already heroes to you.

They were the father that tucked you in at night.  They were the wife who knew your fears before even before you expressed them.  They were the brother who lifted you up.  They were the daughter who made you laugh, and the son who made you proud.  I know.  I know in my heart, so do all of the people on this stage know, that they are absolutely irreplaceable — absolutely irreplaceable.

As the Speaker heard me say yesterday in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, no memorial, no ceremony, no words will ever fill the void left in your hearts by their loss.  My prayer for you is that, 10 years later, when you think of them — 10 years later when you think of them that it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.

My mom used to say that courage lies in every man’s heart, and her expectation was that one day — one day it would be summoned.  Well, here, on September 11, 2001, at exactly 9:37 a.m., it was summoned.  It was summoned from the hearts of the thousands of people who worked here to save hundreds.  It was summoned in the hearts of all those first responders who answered the call.  For courage lies deepest in and beats the loudest in the heart of Americans.  Don’t forget it.  We will not forget them.

May God bless you all.  May God bless America.  And most of all, may God protect our Troops.  (Applause.)

END
10:20 A.M. EDT

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Remarks from the 9/11 10th Anniversary Memorial in NYC — Reading from Psalm 46

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

 

Remarks by the President at the September 11th 10th Anniversary Commemoration

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE NEW YORK CITY SEPTEMBER 11TH 10TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION CEREMONY

National September 11th Memorial
New York City, New York

8:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake
with its swelling,
there’s a river
whose streams shall make glad
the City of God,
the holy place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her.
She shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged,
the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord
who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough
and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

END
8:49 A.M. EDT

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