New York/Washington: Asserting that America would never “give in to fear”, President Barack Obama today led the nation in remembering the nearly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks, 13 years after the world’s deadliest-ever terror carnage.
Obama, First Lady Michelle, along with Vice President Joe Biden, observed a moment of silence this morning at the White House to mark the 13th anniversary of the horrifying suicide attacks on September 11, 2001.
“It has now been 13 years, 13 years since the peace of an American morning was broken, 13 years since nearly 3,000 beautiful lives were taken from us, including 125 men and women serving here at the Pentagon,” Obama later said in his remarks at a Pentagon memorial ceremony.
“We carry on because as Americans, we do not give in to fear. Ever,” he said.
Ceremonies of remembrance were held in New York and Washington on a day Obama pledged to “destroy” Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Security across the country was tightened, in particular at airports and public places.
“After grievous wounds, we learn to walk again and stand again. After terrible burns, you smiled once more. For you, for our nation, these have been difficult years, but by your presence here today in the lives of service that you have led, you embody the truth that, no matter what comes our way,America will always come out stronger,” Obama said.
Obama noted that over more than a decade of war, this “9/11 generation” has answered the country’s call.
“And three months from now, our combat mission in Afghanistan will come to an end,” the US President said.
“Today we honour all who have made the ultimate sacrifice these 13 years, more than 6,800 American patriots. And we give thanks to those who served in harm’s way to keep our country safe and meet the threats of our time,” he said.
Obama underlined that America endures in that perennial optimism that defines its people.
“Beginning tomorrow there will be teenagers, young adults, who were born after 9/11. It’s remarkable. And while these young Americans did not know the horrors of that day, their lives have been shaped by all the days since.
“A time that has brought us pain, but also taught us endurance and strength, a time of rebuilding, of resilience, and of renewal,” Obama said.
In New York, relatives of those killed when two hijacked jetliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre gathered at Ground Zero to remember the dead.
The ceremony began, as usual, with a moment of silence at 8:46 am (local time), when the first plane smashed into the North Tower.
Family members then began reading the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks on New York, the Pentagon in Washington and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This is the first year that the 9/11 museum in New York was open on the anniversary of the attacks.