Obama: America Does Not Give In To Fear

President Obama says for all that's changed in the decade since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, America's character as a nation has endured, stronger than ever. Obama spoke at a memorial concert in Washington, D.C. Sunday night, marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks. It was one of many ceremonies held across the country, honoring a decade of loss and survival.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, host:

And I'm David Greene.

Today is September 12, 2011. Americans are resuming their routines after a day of remembrance. Some people attended ceremonies; others said they couldn't bear to pay too much attention to what is still a searing memory.

At a service in New York, the first of several, President Obama read from Psalm 46, saying: We will not fear, though the Earth give way.

NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

(Soundbite of bagpipe music)

SCOTT HORSLEY: At Ground Zero in New York, at the Pentagon, in a muddy field in Pennsylvania, and in churches, homes and firehouses around the country, Americans paused to reflect on September 11.

President Obama says for all the horror of that terrible Tuesday, the decade since has proven that America does not give in to fear.

President BARACK OBAMA: The rescue workers who rushed to the scene; the firefighters who charged up the stairs; the passengers who stormed the cockpit - these patriots define the very nature of courage. Over the years we've also seen a more quiet form of heroism, in the Ladder Company that lost so many men and still suits up and saves lives every day; the businesses that have been rebuilt from nothing; the burn victim who's bounced back; the families who press on.

HORSLEY: Some of those families gathered at the new tree-lined memorial in lower Manhattan, where the World Trade towers once stood.

Peter Negron was only 11 when he lost his father, who worked on the 88th floor. Today, Negron is a college student, and trying to share his father's lessons with his younger brother.

Mr. PETER NEGRON: I wish my dad had been there to teach me how to drive, ask a girl out on a date, and see me graduate from high school, and a hundred other things I can't even begin to name. I hope that I can make my father proud of the young men that my brother and I have become.

(Soundbite of song "Amazing Grace")

Unidentified People: (Singing) Through many dangers, toils and snares...

HORSLEY: Security was tight in New York and Washington, in anticipation of an anniversary attack that didn't materialize. At the Pentagon, Vice President Biden pointed to the concrete and limestone walls that were rebuilt and strengthened after American Airlines Flight 77 crashed there. Biden said the strength of the American spirit is mightier still.

Vice President JOSEPH BIDEN: Al-Qaida and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire three million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans. They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken.

HORSLEY: President Obama placed a memorial wreath at the Pentagon and another near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the last of the four hijacked planes went down. The hijackers planned to crash that jet into the U.S. Capitol, but the 40 passengers and crew onboard fought back.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge remembered those passengers as an inspiration.

Mr. TOM RIDGE (Former Republican Governor, Pennsylvania): Would we, could we, have shown the same resolve? The same selflessness? The same astonishing valor.

(Soundbite of choral music)

HORSLEY: The Concert for Hope that concluded yesterday's memorial service was supposed to be held at Washington's National Cathedral, but after damage related to last month's earthquake, the concert was moved to the Kennedy Center. There, President Obama said nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. More than any physical memorial, he said, that will be the legacy of 9/11.

President OBAMA: It will be said that we kept the faith, that we took a painful blow and we emerged stronger than before.

HORSLEY: Let us rededicate ourselves to the ideals that define our nation, Mr. Obama said, and look to the future with hearts full of hope.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: