WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten years after the 9/11 terror attacks, President Barack Obama was marking the anniversary by honoring the dead and urging Americans to recapture the sense of unity kindled then but mostly long since extinguished.
Obama, a state senator from Illinois at the time of the attacks, must now help lead the nation into a new phase of healing. He has called on Americans this weekend to remember and serve, and to come together toward a joint future.
“A decade after 9/11, it’s clear for all the world to see — the terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values,” the president said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.
The president was expected to repeat that theme Sunday in evening remarks at a Kennedy Center memorial concert, after spending the day visiting all three sites where terrorists crashed planes a decade ago, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, the president was beginning the day in New York City to take part in the memorial service at ground zero along with former President George W. Bush, among others.
From there the president was traveling to Shanksville, Pa., where airline passengers fought back against hijackers and drove a plane into the ground. It was believed the hijackers intended to fly the jet into the White House or the Capitol.
Then Obama was returning to Washington to lay a wreath at the Pentagon and attend the “Concert for Hope” at the Kennedy Center, a ceremony of music and readings intended to offer a sense of renewal.
On Saturday, the president stopped at Arlington National Cemetery to visit graves of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the two long wars he inherited and is beginning to wind down. He also spent time with his family working at a soup kitchen, and called on other Americans also to participate in a day of service.
Throughout the day, the president and his national security team tracked a tip about a possible attack being planned by al-Qaida for New York or Washington to coincide with the anniversary, but U.S. intelligence did not find evidence that terrorists had been sneaked into the country to carry out such a strike.