General Dempsey, thank you.
Mr. President, distinguished guests, family members, survivors and first responders: I am honored to share this podium today, with the distinguished leaders that accompany me and who represent the best of our country, and you, who represent the character and the fiber and the strength of America.
Twelve years ago at this hour, in this place, a horrific act of terror claimed 184 innocent lives.
Today we come together to honor the fallen, surrounded by those who loved them. We remember each of those taken from us. We remember them as individuals with their own story. We comfort the loved ones they left behind, who still mourn and grieve, despite the passage of time.
And our thoughts turn to others whose lives were forever changed by the fateful events that clear September morning: the first responders and survivors, whose heroism we celebrate; the Pentagon personnel who came to work the next day with a greater sense of determination than ever before; and the men and women in uniform who have stepped forward to defend our country over twelve long years of war, bearing incredible sacrifices along with their families.
In all of these men and women – in all of you – we see the strength, resilience, and the sense of purpose that have always defined the United States of America. And that too, is what the American people reflect upon today – for it is in these timeless qualities that we find hope for a better world, and a better future.
We’re honored that President Obama is here to help us commemorate this anniversary. It is my privilege to introduce our Commander-in-Chief, a man who leads our country with compassion, with strength, and wisdom.
Ladies and gentlemen, President Barack Obama.