President Obama marked the 15th anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks with a call for unity, a celebration of diversity and a reminder that Americans will never give into fear.
“It is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation, of people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background,” Obama told hundreds of service members, relatives and survivors of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon which killed 183 people.
“Bound by a creed as old as our founder … Out of many, we are one. For we know that our diversity, our patchwork heritage, is not a weakness, it is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” Obama said.
Obama also vowed that the U.S. will never bow to the wishes of terrorists who, through their attacks, hope to change the way Americans live.
“We will preserve our freedoms and the way of life that makes us a beacon to the world,” he said. “We have the opportunity each and every day to live up to the sacrifice of those heroes that we lost.”
“In the end, the most enduring memorial to those we lost is ensuring the America that we continue to be,” Obama added. “That we stay true to ourselves. That we stay true to what’s best in us. That we do not let others divide us.”
Obama’s solemn but hopeful speech came 15 years to the day after nearly 3,000 people died in a series of horrific terror attacks.
The speech, his last 9/11 observance as a sitting President, occurred just feet from where American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon.
Obama added that such large scale attacks remain unlikely but that terrorism had shifted their tactics to focus on planning smaller, but still deadly, assaults like the ones in Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando.
President Obama speaks during a ceremony commemorating the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon in Washington.
(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
But he promised to work hard to keep America safe.
“We resolve to continue doing everything in our power to protect this country that we love,” he said. “In your grief and grace, you have reminded us that, together, there’s nothing we Americans cannot overcome.”
With News Wire Services