On the 12th anniversary of 9/11, President Obama delivered some brief and poignant remarks at the Pentagon -- honoring and paying tribute to the thousands of innocent men, women, and children who senselessly died on September 11, 2001.
“We pray for the memory of all those taken from us -- nearly 3,000 innocent souls,” the president told the somber crowd of 9/11 families and their loved ones. “Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been -- the parents who would have known the joy of being grandparents, the fathers and mothers who would have known the pride of a child’s graduation, the sons and daughters who would have grown, maybe married and been blessed with children of their own.”
“Those beautiful boys and girls just beginning to find their way who today would have been teenagers and young men and women looking ahead, imagining the mark they’d make on the world.”
And yet the president noted that the victims of 9/11 did not die in vain. Indeed, he said, they inspired so many Americans from across the nation to either serve in uniform or in different capacities in their local communities. Their sacrifice, he said, honors and keeps alive the memories of their lost friends and loved ones.
“Even more than memorials of stone and water your lives are the greatest tribute to those that we lost,” he said. “For their legacy shines on in you -- when you smile just like him, when you toss your hair just like her, when you foster scholarships and service projects that bear the name of those we lost and make a better world. When you join the firehouse or you put on the uniform or you devote yourself to a cause greater than yourself, just like they did, that's a testimony to them. And in your resilience you have taught us all there is no trouble we cannot endure and there is no calamity we cannot overcome.”
At the same time, the president also praised foreign diplomats, intelligence personnel, and members of the armed services -- all of whom, he said, dedicate their lives each and every day to keeping America safe. He also paid special attention to those who’ve died defending America’s freedoms, including the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya a year ago today during a terrorist raid on the U.S. consulate.
“We pray for all those who have stepped forward in those years of war,” he said. “[Diplomats] who serve in dangerous posts, as we saw this day last year in Benghazi, intelligence professionals, often unseen and unheralded who protect us in every way -- our men and women in uniform who defend this country that we love.”
“Today we remember not only those who died that September day,” he said. “We pay solemn tribute to more than 6,700 patriots who have given their full measure since -- military and civilians. We see their legacy in the friendships they forged, the attacks they prevented, the innocent lives they saved and in their comrades in Afghanistan who are completing the mission and who by the end of next year will have helped to end this war.”
Finally, the president also invoked scripture, urging the nation to look forward with hopeful hearts and courage to a brighter dawn -- as 9/11 families have done for 12 long years
“And above all, let us have the courage like the survivors and families here today to carry on, no matter how dark the night or how difficult the day,” he intoned. “‘You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again. And from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and you will comfort me again.’”
“May God bless the memory of those that we lost,” the president said in conclusion. “ May he comfort you and your families and may God bless these United States of America.”