President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks by attending memorials at each of the three sites where the planes crashed 10 years ago today. 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.
From New York, the Obamas traveled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 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. Earlier in the week, Vice President Joseph Biden, with Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, former First Lady Laura Bush, and Dr. Jill Biden were in Shanksville to participate in a dedication ceremony for the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
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. Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden marked the anniversary at the Pentagon.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the Voices of September 11th event and the 10th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial for Cantor Fitzgerald in New York. On Friday, September 9, 2011, Secretary Clinton and other dignitaries attended the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange to remember the victims of September 11, and those who selflessly aided the rescue and recovery effort. Secretary Clinton also outlined U.S. counterterrorism strategy in remarks at the John Jay School.
President Obama issued 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 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, D.C.
On Sunday night, after a day spent remembering those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Biden attended "A Concert for Hope" at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. At the concert, the President said:
"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."