(WASHINGTON) — As the nation prepares to mark the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama is reflecting on “just how far we’ve come as a nation” and highlighting his administration’s foreign policy successes.
In his weekly address, the president pays tribute to those who lost their lives and honors the first responders who fought to save them.
“On that clear September morning, as America watched the towers fall, and the Pentagon burn, and the wreckage smoldering in a Pennsylvania field, we were filled with questions. Where had the attacks come from, and how would America respond? Would they fundamentally weaken the country we love? Would they change who we are?” Obama says.
“The last decade has been a difficult one, but together, we have answered those questions and come back stronger as a nation,” he says.
Echoing his remarks at the convention this week, Obama says al Qaeda is “on the path to defeat” and “Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again” because of his leadership. The president also touts the end of the Iraq war and the transition in Afghanistan.
“Instead of changing who we are, the attacks have brought out the best in the American people,” he says.
“Instead of turning on each other, we’ve resisted the temptation to give in to mistrust and suspicion. I have always said that America is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates — and we will never be at war with Islam or any other religion. We are the United States of America. Our freedom and diversity make us unique, and they will always be central to who we are as a nation,” he says.
“Eleven years later, that’s the legacy of 9/11 — the ability to say with confidence that no adversary and no act of terrorism can change who we are,” he says. “We are Americans, and we will protect and preserve this country we love. On this solemn anniversary, let’s remember those we lost, let us reaffirm the values they stood for, and let us keep moving forward as one nation and one people.”
The president will mark the upcoming anniversary Tuesday by attending a memorial service at the Pentagon and meeting with wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tal Kopan and Evan Perez, CNN
Tom Kludt and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN