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Secretary of Defense Speech

September 11th Memorial Observance

Sept. 11, 2014
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

General Dempsey, thank you. 

Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, distinguished guests, family members, survivors: 

We will never forget what happened on this day, at this hour, in this place – an act of terror that shook the world and took the lives of 184 Americans. 

Today, we remember those we lost on that day – this day – as we are surrounded by those who loved them.  We celebrate our nation’s strength and resilience, surrounded by those who embody it… and we draw inspiration from the ways in which survivors and victims’ families continue to honor their legacy.

Our thoughts also turn to others whose lives were forever changed that day:

  • the first responders and survivors, whose heroism and resilience 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 13 long years of war, bearing incredible sacrifices along with their families.  


We live at a time of many complicated challenges.  But America has always faced challenges and we have always responded as a nation united in purpose, woven together in a fabric of strong character and resounding commitment to each other, and to our country.

To lead our nation at such a defining time requires not only the courage and the vision to lead, but the humility that recognizes this unique privilege.  These traits are embodied in our Commander-in-Chief.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.