President, First Lady Honor Victims of 9/11 Attacks at All Sites

Obama's stop in Shanksville drew spontaneous applause and chants of "USA" from those at the memorial site.

 

 
 
 

BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent | | Monday, September 12, 2011


SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — On a day of serenity and remembrance, President Barack Obama honored the dead of Sept. 11 with his quiet presence Sunday at the most tangible reminders of both the incredible loss and dauntless resilience of a country rebuilding a decade later.

At New York's ground zero, Obama touched the names of the lost etched into bronze at a memorial pool created in the footprint of one of the downed World Trade Center towers.

In a field in rural Pennsylvania, he placed a wreath at the marbled Wall of Names memorializing those who crashed at Shanksville after fighting back against the hijackers and driving their plane into the ground.

Then the president headed for a memorial at the Pentagon, where each of the 184 victims is remembered with a bench and small reflecting pool.

This was not a day centered on presidential speechmaking. Rather, Obama's principal role was simply to be there as the nation paused to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost and ponder all that has transpired.

At a ceremony at ground zero, Obama read Psalm 46, which he chose because it speaks of perseverance through challenges.

"God is our refuge and strength," Obama intoned, "a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear."

On a sun-splashed New York morning, Obama and his wife, Michelle, first walked with former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, to the North Memorial Pool. All four touched the names etched in bronze and silently bowed their heads. They then turned to dispense greetings and hugs to family members of those who died.

This also was not a day for partisanship or rancor.

Bush gave Obama a quick nod of solidarity after the president's reading. It was the first time the two presidents had seen each other since their Rose Garden appearance after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010.

The presidents and their wives stood behind bulletproof glass during the ceremony, an indication of the tight security surrounding the day's events. In Washington, Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser convened a meeting in the Situation Room to review security precautions for the weekend.

Obama's stop in Shanksville drew spontaneous applause and chants of "USA" from those at the memorial site, where each of the 40 marble slabs is inscribed with the name of someone who died in the crash. Obama and his wife lingered at the site to pose for photos with visitors, greet children and share some quiet laughs.

"Thanks for getting bin Laden," one man called out.

The Obamas then walked to the boulder that marks the actual crash site and stood quietly together in a field of wildflowers for a time.

"I think it's just important that the president shows his support for the families that lost loved ones," said Jaleel Dyson, an 18-year-old from Washington who attends college in the area and came to pay tribute to the dead.

Obama, who was a state senator from Illinois when the hijackers struck in 2001, has called on Americans this weekend to remember and serve, and to come together toward a joint future.

"Ten years later, I'd say America came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character," he told NBC News. "We've made mistakes. Some things haven't happened as quickly as they needed to. But overall, we took the fight to al-Qaida, we preserved our values, we preserved our character."

Obama's only other planned public remarks Sunday were to come at a memorial concert in Washington in the evening.

His goals were to acknowledge how the country has changed, such as an increased vigilance against terrorism, and the things that have stayed the same, the values of freedom and liberty that bind the country together.

In the broadcast interview, Obama recalled going home after the attacks and rocking his baby daughter, Sasha. "Our first reaction was, and continues to be, just heartbreak for the families involved. The other thing that we all remember is how America came together."



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, September 11

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fire Damages Several Homes in California Earthquake

Four homes destroyed and others damaged after quake rattles Napa.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

NTSB investigates crash that killed four.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >