Obama pays tribute to US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Paying tributes to US servicemen in Afghanistan and Iraq on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, US President Barack Obama on Sunday said groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIL will never be able to defeat the United States.
“Groups like Al-Qaeda, like ISIL, know that we will never be able -- they will never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America,” Obama said at a memorial service for 9/11 victims at the Pentagon.
“So, instead, they've tried to terrorize in the hopes that they can stoke enough fear that we turn on each other and that we change who we are or how we live,” he said.
“And that's why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation -- a people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background -- bound by a creed as old as our founding, e pluribus unum,” he said.
Obama also participated in a wreath ceremony outside of the Pentagon. He was joined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Gen Joseph Dunford. A trumpet played as Obama stood solemnly in front of the wreath with his hand over his heart.
A moment of silence was observed at 9:32 in remembrance those who perished in the Pentagon attack.
“Today, we return to the site of an attack motivated by barbarism and hate. An attack that rattled the world, that shook this mighty building, and that took 184 lives from us here at the Pentagon as well as thousands more in New York and Pennsylvania,” Carter said in his address.
“Indeed, when someone strikes at the heart of what we stand for, we respond with the full might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known. Because our memory is long and our reach and resolve are endless, our enemies cannot hide, they cannot escape, they cannot endure. Wherever they are, they will surely, no matter how long it takes, come to feel the righteous fist of American might,” Carter said.
Since September 11th, 2001, millions of America’s best young men and women have volunteered to respond to those attacks and defend what’s best about America and civilization itself – “our freedoms, our values, our care for life, and our way of life,” he said.
In a statement, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said Americans were not the only ones who fell victim.
“The citizens of more than sixty countries perished in the strikes on the World Trade Center. That astonishing toll reflects both the inter-connected nature of modern society and the need to persist in our comprehensive and united response to the global threat posed by violent extremist groups,” he said.
“Over the past decade and a half, the United States has led that response. With partners on every continent, we are helping to defeat terrorists by targeting their leadership, shrinking their territory, choking their finances, disrupting their networks, and discrediting their lies,” he added.
The United States, he said, will neither be intimidated by terrorists, nor draw back from the business of the world, nor retreat from its democratic values.
“Instead, we have grown even more vigilant, even more resolved, and even more determined to protect our people, assist our friends, and defend civilization from those who would tear it down,” he said.
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