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President Obama commemorates 15th anniversary of 9/11

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President Barack Obama, right, with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, stand at attention as the national anthem is played during a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press)

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

President Barack Obama, right, with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, stand at attention as the national anthem is played during a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press)
President Barack Obama, right, with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, stand at attention as the national anthem is played during a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press)

In commemorating the September 11 terrorist attacks, President Barack Obama started off with scripture.

“Scripture tells us, ‘Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you…write them on the tablet of your heart,” he said. The verse acted as a throughline for Obama’s speech, said to those gathered at the Pentagon to reflect. The day, Obama said, is a difficult one, “but which reveals the love and faithfulness in your hearts and in the heart of our nation.”

Obama spoke of the almost 3,000 lives who were lost, including 184 at the Pentagon. “We honor the courage of tose who put themselves in harm’s way to save people they never knew,” he said. “We come together in prayer and gratitude for the strength that has fortified us across these 15 years. And we renew the love and the faith that binds us together as one American family.

Obama recognized the family members of those killed, citing how, despite their personal tragedy, they have inspired the nation to press forward. “Even as you’ve mourned, you’ve summoned the strength to carry on,” he said. “In the names of those you’ve lost, you’ve started scholarships and volunteered in your communities, and done your best to be a good neighbor and a good friend and a good citizen. And in your grief and grace, you have reminded us that, together, there’s nothing we Americans cannot overcome.

In closing, Obama asserted that in order to keep the memories of those killed alive, America must honor its creed to be a nation to all. “Groups like al Qaeda, like ISIL [ISIS], know that…they were never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America. So, instead, they’ve tried to terrorize in the hopes that they can stoke enough fear that we turn on each other and that we change who we are or how we live,” he said. “And that’s why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation–a people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background–bound by a creed as old as our founding, e pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one.” He reasserted diversity “is still, and always will be, one of our greatest strengths.”