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September 11th Wreath-Laying Ceremony (Pentagon, 9/11 Cornerstone)
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Pentagon, 9/11 Cornerstone, Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thank you, General Pace.
Scripture teaches us that “those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”
On this day, in this place, we gather to offer a tribute to those whose lives were lost six years ago. Friends and family members, this is a day for quiet contemplation, an occasion for you to remember all the times – both good and bad – that you shared with your loved one. We have rebuilt this building, just as many of you have rebuilt your lives and learned to live with your loss. And while time has the ability to heal wounds, to soothe anguished spirits, it can never fully dull the pain or eliminate the awful memories that will forever be associated with this day.
Today the entire nation joins with you. You have never been, and never will be, alone in your sorrow. Those who did not return home that day were more than just friends and colleagues, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. They were fellow Americans, members of our nation’s family. They will always be honored as such.
Here at the Department of Defense, we pay an ongoing tribute with our firm commitment to defend the United States against any and all enemies – wherever they may exist.
And let there be no doubt that anyone wishing to revisit harm upon this country will find, in the men and women of this Department, adversaries who have found a clarity of purpose in their grief, a strength of resolve in their anger. The enemies of America – the enemies of our values and our liberty – will never again rest easy, for we will hunt them down relentlessly and without reservation.
We know from history that there will always be those who are impervious to reason or accommodation – enemies who will stop at nothing to do us harm. We, too, will stop at nothing to defend this nation, its citizens, and our values.
As we contemplate the challenges ahead, together we share a profound sense of duty, brought once again into sharp relief today. It is a duty to our nation. A duty to our fellow countrymen. And it is a duty to those who perished here six years ago.