By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2011 - President Barack Obama used his weekly address today to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and pay tribute to the first responders, the nation's military members, and those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.
"We're coming together, as one nation, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. We're remembering the lives we lost -- nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children. We're reaffirming our commitment to always keep faith with their families," he said.
Even as the nation pays tribute to the fallen and those who risked their lives to save others, the president said, Americans must look forward to the future.
"That includes staying strong and confident in the face of any threat," he said. "And thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals, there should be no doubt: today, America is stronger, and al-Qaida is on the path to defeat."
Over the past two and a half years, the nation's forces have eliminated more senior al-Qaida leaders than ever before, and "finally delivered justice to Osama bin Laden," he said.
Americans are constantly working to improve homeland security as well, the president said, "at our airports, ports and borders; enhancing aviation security and screening; increasing support for our first responders; and working closer than ever with states, cities and communities."
A decade after the attacks, it's clear the terrorists who attacked America are "no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values," the president said.
"They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear," Obama said. "Yes, we face a determined foe, and -- make no mistake -- they will keep trying to hit us again. But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We're doing everything in our power to protect our people. And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on."
Americans are ending the war in Iraq, beginning to bring their troops home from Afghanistan, and focusing on nation-building at home, the president said.
"A decade later, we've shown that America doesn't hunker down and hide behind walls of mistrust," he said. "We've forged new partnerships with nations around the world to meet the global challenges that no nation can face alone. And across the Middle East and North Africa, a new generation of citizens is showing that the future belongs to those that want to build, not destroy."
Ten years ago, ordinary Americans demonstrated the true meaning of courage "when they rushed up those stairwells, into those flames, into that cockpit," Obama said.
"In the decade since, a new generation has stepped forward to serve and keep us safe," he said. "In their memory, in their name, we will never waver. We will protect the country we love and pass it safer, stronger and more prosperous to the next generation."
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