September 11, 2007
Six years ago, on a bright and beautiful Tuesday morning, a new kind of enemy came to America's shores.
We will never forget the images of that terrible day -- the planes vanishing into buildings, the thick black clouds of smoke, and the haunting pictures of the missing.
On this anniversary, we pause to remember each and every victim of those attacks.
We celebrate the lives that were tragically cut short. We grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones. We honor the service and sacrifice of the emergency responders who set an example to the whole world that in America we are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper.
And we pause to honor the brave men and women of the United States military -- and their families -- who have borne such a heavy burden for the last six years.
We also remember how Americans were stirred to a common purpose. On the lines to donate blood or the candlelight vigils that stretched across our country, there was no red America and there was no blue America. We were united in our grief for our fellow citizens. We were united in our resolve to stand with one another and to stand up to terror. We were united as Americans.
Six years later, the threat to America has only grown. Al Qaeda has reconstituted a new safe-haven where it trains recruits and plots attacks. Al Qaeda's top two leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, continue to disseminate their hate-filled propaganda and inspire legions of followers. Like-minded extremists have struck in scores of countries. The war in Iraq continues to fuel terror and extremism. A Taliban insurgency rages on in Afghanistan. In too many disconnected corners of the world, hate is casting a shadow over hope.
Our calling today remains the same as it was on 9/11. We must write a new chapter in American history. We must bring justice to the terrorists who killed on our shores. We must devise new strategies, develop new capabilities, and build new alliances to defeat the threats of the 21st century. We must extend hope to the hopeless corners of the world and reaffirm our core values to counter the hateful message of the extremists. And we must secure a more resilient homeland.
To write that new American story, we must recapture that sense of common purpose that we had on September 11, 2001.
America is bigger than the challenge that came to our shores. Let us honor the legacy of those we lost by coming together anew. Let us always mark this day by affirming that hope will triumph over fear, and that a new generation of Americans will seek a safer, freer, and more perfect union.