September 11, 2011 by staff
Ground Zero, Barack Obama President opened one day of solemn remembrance sunny Sunday 09.11 to honor the dead with a visit to ground zero, caressing the smooth panels, bronze with the names of those lost in the World Trade Center and the turbulent waters of a pond memorial gave voice to the sadness of the day.
Obama, the hand of his wife, Michelle, walked for the first time with former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, to the pool at North Memorial, created in the footprint of the demolished tower, where the four bowed in silence. The quartet returned to dispense with greetings and hugs to the families of the deceased.
This was not a day of presidential speeches: On the contrary, Obama’s role was simply to be there – in New York, then Pennsylvania, then at the Pentagon – that the nation stood at the 10 th anniversary of the terrorist attacks to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost and reflect on what has happened.
In a ceremony of commemoration of zero, only Obama’s public statements were a reading of Psalm 46 which speaks of God, refuge and strength.
“Be still and know that I am God,” intoned the president.
He was also a day when there is no place for partisanship. Bush gave Obama a quick nod of solidarity after reading the writings of the president. Presidents and their wives stood behind a bulletproof glass at the ceremony, an indication of the tight security around the day’s events.
Obama was an Illinois state senator, when the hijackers reached in 2001, has asked the U.S. this weekend to remember and serve, and to come together towards a common future.
“Ten years later, I would say that the United States came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character,” he told NBC News in a taped interview. “We made mistakes. Some things have not happened as quickly as needed. But in general, who took the fight against al-Qaida, which retains the values, preserving our character.”
Obama planned single public comments Sunday were coming to a memorial concert in Washington in the evening after spending the day visiting the three sites where terrorists crashed planes a decade ago.
From New York, the president planned to stop in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where passengers fought the hijackers and drove a plane into the ground. It was believed that the hijackers intended to fly the plane into the White House or the Capitol.
Obama planned to return later to Washington to lay a wreath at the Pentagon and attend the “Concert of Hope” at the Kennedy Center, a ceremony of music and readings intended to provide a sense of renewal. The concert was a production of the Washington National Cathedral.
In the NBC interview, Obama recalled home after the attacks and cradling her daughter, Sasha. “Our first reaction was, and remains, to the anguish of the families involved. The other thing that we all remember is how America came together.”
On Saturday, the president stopped at Arlington National Cemetery to visit the graves of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, two long wars he inherited and is beginning to decline. He also spent time with his family to work in a soup kitchen, and called on other Americans to participate in a day of service.
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