As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, President Obama on Saturday urged Americans to reclaim the sense of unity that brought the nation together in the wake of tragedy by honoring the memory of those lost through service.
Mr. Obama, in his weekly address, said volunteering is a fitting way to commemorate the lives of Americans who were killed a decade ago in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and in Pennsylvania -- as well as the troops who have been fighting the wars abroad ever since.
"We were united, and the outpouring of generosity and compassion reminded us that in times of challenge, we Americans move forward together, as one people," Mr. Obama said, noting how the attacks brought out the best of the American people as they immediately lined up to volunteer and give blood, food and clothing.
"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost; a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11," he said.
Mr. Obama is expected to mark the solemn anniversary at a ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City alongside his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, as well as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The president most recently visited the site of the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation's history in May, shortly after the successful U.S. special forces raid in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the attacks. On that trip, he met with family members of those killed in the tragedy.
"We'll remember the innocent lives we lost," Mr. Obama said of the approaching anniversary. "We'll stand with the families who loved them. We'll honor the heroic first responders who rushed to the scene and saved so many. And we'll pay tribute to our troops and military families, and all those who have served over the past ten years, to keep us safe and strong."
Mr. Obama said he hopes the day will demonstrate that "the common purpose that we need in America doesn't have to be a fleeting moment; it can be a lasting virtue -- not just on one day, but every day."
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