Washington, Sep 9, 2011 - On September 11, 2001, Islamic radicals slaughtered 3,000 of our fellow human beings. The people who were targeted and killed were ordinary folks from every walk of life, of every religion, every level of income, and every level of education. It’s easy sometimes to fall into the trap of believing that America is a stratified place, that maybe we don’t have much in common with the people around us, in our hurried and stressful lives. From the horror of the attacks, however, it was clear that we emerged as one people, resolute and strong.
10 years later we are still resolute and still strong. Our country today, however, faces many challenges. Some people have suggested that our economic woes, our continuing struggle against terrorism, or the prospect of a rising China may signal the ultimate decline of America.
I think that is nonsense.
The main lesson we should take away from the monstrous attacks 10 years ago is not that America is weak. On the contrary, we Americans were confronted with a great evil, and we triumphed.
It has been a bumpy road to recovery since that terrible day, when New York City and Washington, DC, were attacked. But I have always believed in America because I believe in what America stands for: freedom of opportunity, liberty in our thoughts and deeds, human rights and justice for all.
As we reflect on the horror of September 11, 2001, let’s celebrate the honor and courage of the first responders and everyone who lost their lives on that day and risked their lives to try to save others, and let’s pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces who continue to work tirelessly to keep us safe.
In addition to looking back a decade ago, let’s also look to the future. Let’s continue working, as one people, to solve the challenges we face and create a world that is stronger and freer than the one we were given. We should do this, not merely to honor the people who have sacrificed their lives for us, but also for future generations who will inherit this place from us when we’ve shuffled on from this earth.