Americans Reflect on 9/11 a Decade Later

Posted September 11th, 2011 at 8:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Dignitaries, survivors and victims' loved ones gathered in New York, outside Washington and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to remember the lives lost a decade ago in the attacks of September 11, 2001. They read words of encouragement and shared their hopes, fears and reflections on the last 10 years.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.” President Barack Obama, reading a Bible passage, Psalm 46, at Ground Zero.

“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.” Former president George W. Bush, reading a letter from president Abraham Lincoln to a mother who lost five sons in the American Civil War.

“Those in this building that day knew what they were witnessing. It was a declaration of war by stateless actors bent on changing our way of life, who believed that these horrible acts, these horrible acts of terror, directed against innocents could buckle our knees, could bend our will, could begin to break us, break our resolve. But they did not know us.” Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at the Pentagon.

“Mom, I am proud to be your daughter. You will always be my hero and the pride of New York City.” Patricia, whose mother was a police officer and killed in the collapse of the towers.

“To my beloved son, my hero, firefighter Paul John Gill, of Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9. Our hearts are broken, but our lives will never be the same. And we miss you, and we love you more than you know. And we can't express how we feel today on this 10th anniversary.” Father of a 34-year-old victim who was never recovered.

“We can only go about the business of being Americans, of being strong and optimistic and vibrant people. The breezes on this hillside, whispers of an unfinished agenda — one of freedom at home and abroad, a far away peoples free from the yoke of dictators and bigots. It is filled with lives that we must now complete on the behalf of those who sacrificed their lives.” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, speaking in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“The sacrifices of these men and women (serving in the U.S. military), and of our military families, reminds us that the wages of war are great; that while their 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.” President Obama, in remarks at “A Concert for Hope” in Washington, DC.