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Obama: America Does Not Give In To Fear


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene.

Today is September 12, 2011. Americans are resuming their routines after a day of remembrance. Some people attended ceremonies; others said they couldn't bear to pay too much attention to what is still a searing memory.

At a service in New York, the first of several, President Obama read from Psalm 46, saying: We will not fear, though the Earth give way.

NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

(Soundbite of bagpipe music)

SCOTT HORSLEY: At Ground Zero in New York, at the Pentagon, in a muddy field in Pennsylvania, and in churches, homes and firehouses around the country, Americans paused to reflect on September 11.

President Obama says for all the horror of that terrible Tuesday, the decade since has proven that America does not give in to fear.

President BARACK OBAMA: The rescue workers who rushed to the scene; the firefighters who charged up the stairs; the passengers who stormed the cockpit - these patriots define the very nature of courage. Over the years we've also seen a more quiet form of heroism, in the Ladder Company that lost so many men and still suits up and saves lives every day; the businesses that have been rebuilt from nothing; the burn victim who's bounced back; the families who press on.

HORSLEY: Some of those families gathered at the new tree-lined memorial in lower Manhattan, where the World Trade towers once stood.

Peter Negron was only 11 when he lost his father, who worked on the 88th floor. Today, Negron is a college student, and trying to share his father's lessons with his younger brother.

Mr. PETER NEGRON: I wish my dad had been there to teach me how to drive, ask a girl out on a date, and see me graduate from high school, and a hundred other things I can't even begin to name. I hope that I can make my father proud of the young men that my brother and I have become.

(Soundbite of song "Amazing Grace")

Unidentified People: (Singing) Through many dangers, toils and snares...

HORSLEY: Security was tight in New York and Washington, in anticipation of an anniversary attack that didn't materialize. At the Pentagon, Vice President Biden pointed to the concrete and limestone walls that were rebuilt and strengthened after American Airlines Flight 77 crashed there. Biden said the strength of the American spirit is mightier still.

Vice President JOSEPH BIDEN: Al-Qaida and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire three million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans. They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken.

HORSLEY: President Obama placed a memorial wreath at the Pentagon and another near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the last of the four hijacked planes went down. The hijackers planned to crash that jet into the U.S. Capitol, but the 40 passengers and crew onboard fought back.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge remembered those passengers as an inspiration.

Mr. TOM RIDGE (Former Republican Governor, Pennsylvania): Would we, could we, have shown the same resolve? The same selflessness? The same astonishing valor.

(Soundbite of choral music)

HORSLEY: The Concert for Hope that concluded yesterday's memorial service was supposed to be held at Washington's National Cathedral, but after damage related to last month's earthquake, the concert was moved to the Kennedy Center. There, President Obama said nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. More than any physical memorial, he said, that will be the legacy of 9/11.

President OBAMA: It will be said that we kept the faith, that we took a painful blow and we emerged stronger than before.

HORSLEY: Let us rededicate ourselves to the ideals that define our nation, Mr. Obama said, and look to the future with hearts full of hope.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.