US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has calling for national unity ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary of the September 11 attacks, reflecting on a decade that has severely tested America’s character.
In his weekly address, broadcast this morning, Obama shared that the terrorists behind the attacks “are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation or the endurance of our values.
“We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people,” he said. “And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.”
In the weekly address, Obama sought a balance between remembering and moving forward. He also tried to summon the feeling of unity that existed after terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.
“They wanted to deprive us of the unity that defines us as a people. But we will not succumb to division or suspicion,” Obama said.
We are Americans, and we are stronger and safer when we stay true to the values, freedoms and diversity that make us unique among nations.
Obama thanked American troops who have served in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He praised the military successes that led to advances against al-Qaida and the killing of the group’s leader, Osama bin Laden.
He also reaffirmed his commitment to winding down the conflicts he inherited.
‘We remain vigilant’
“Yes, we face a determined foe, and make no mistake — they will keep trying to hit us again,” Obama said. “But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people.”
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who gave the weekly Republican address, said the terrorists achieved their goal of killing Americans, but failed to destroy the American spirit.
“The country was not broken, but rather, it was more united in the days after September 11 than at any time in my lifetime,” Giuliani said.
We displayed heroic spirit in many ways, but perhaps the most heroic was the unity of spirit that we shared as Americans. The American people demonstrated one of the most basic values that we share — our love of freedom and the value we place on individual human life.
Without mentioning Obama by name, Giuliani also used his address to criticise the administration’s policies, saying that America is safer, but not as safe as it should be.
He condemned plans to remove troops from Iraq and Afghanistan under a set schedule. “American security requires a long-term military presence in the part of the world, where people and organisations are plotting to kill us,” he said.
“Perhaps the most dangerous impulse we’ve developed since September 11 is impatience demonstrated by the calls to put our armed forces on timetables.”
Intelligence officials have been working around the clock to determine the validity of a new threat of a possible al-Qaeda attack on New York or Washington timed to coincide with the anniversary.
Obama, a state senator in Illinois at the time of the attacks, and his wife Michelle plan to participate in a service project later this afternoon in the Washington area.
The president is tomorrow scheduled to visit New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon, the sites where hijacked planes struck ten years ago. In the evening, he is to speak at a memorial event at the Kennedy Center in Washington.