(AP) — Hailing the values and resilience that he says both define and sustains Americans, President Barack Obama on Saturday honored the nearly 3,000 souls that were lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as well as the bravery of survivors and the emergency personnel who responded, and the work of scores of others who have labored since to keep the homeland safe.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said that while so much has changed in the years since 9/11 it’s important to remember what has stayed the same. “The core values that define us as Americans. The resilience that sustains us,” he said on the eve of the 15th anniversary of one of the nation’s darkest days.
He said the terrorists’ goal is to frighten Americans into changing how they live, but “Americans will never give in to fear.”
“We’re still the America of heroes who ran into harm’s way, of ordinary folks who took down the hijackers, of families who turned their pain into hope,” Obama said.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon when hijacked commercial airliners were slammed into all three locations in attacks that were planned and carried out by the al-Qaida terrorist group. Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed nearly a decade later by U.S. forces during a May 2011 raid on his Pakistani hideout that Obama authorized.
Obama noted in his address that the terrorist threat has evolved since Sept. 11 “as we’ve seen so tragically from Boston to Chattanooga, from San Bernardino to Orlando,” cities that suffered headline-grabbing, terrorist-linked, fatal shootings.
He pledged that the U.S. will stay relentless against terrorism from al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, which is spreading its mayhem across the Middle East and the West.
Obama will mark Sunday’s anniversary by observing a moment of silence in the privacy of the White House residence at 8:46 a.m. EDT, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, before delivering remarks at a Pentagon memorial service.
The 343 firefighters who died in the attacks were honored Saturday at a St. Patrick’s Cathedral memorial service for acts of heroism that New York’s mayor said “most of us could not fathom.”
Hundreds of family members of those who died and those who survived the attacks listened to their loved ones remembered for their courage on a day that would claim the lives of more firefighters than any other day in the nation’s history. Each of the names of the dead firefighters was read aloud during the service.
Thousands are expected at a seaside service on Long Island to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Officials in the town of Hempstead will converge at Point Lookout, on the south shore of Long Island. On Sept. 11, 2001, many people watched the attacks on the World Trade Center from the seaside vantage point.
Massachusetts is planning to honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks 15 years ago.
There will be a wreath-laying ceremony at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the permanent memorial located in the Boston Public Garden.
The annual name-reading ceremony of the more than 200 people with Massachusetts connections who died in the attacks will be moved indoors to the House Chamber due to forecasts of rainy weather. The ceremony typically takes place on the Statehouse lawn.
A memorial in Rindge, New Hampshire, dedicated to Americans who work on behalf of peace is the setting for a Sept. 11 memorial.
In addition to Sunday’s reading of the names of nearly 3,000 people who were killed by the terrorist attacks in 2001, the names of the five victims who perished during the Boston Marathon bombing and the 49 victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting will be read at the Cathedral of the Pines.
The U.S. Naval Academy is holding 9/11 remembrance events this weekend.
A group of midshipmen on Saturday placed 2,996 mini American flags on Stribling walk to represent those lost in the Sept. 11 attacks.
More than 150 midshipmen on Saturday also participated in the nationwide 9/11 Day of Service. They spent the morning mulching, planting trees, removing rocks, cleaning flower beds and restoring the area around the Maryland World War II Memorial on Route 2 in Annapolis.
On Sunday, midshipmen will participate in the “Run to Remember” at the academy.
Groups of midshipmen will run relays in small groups carrying the American flag around the grounds of the academy for the entire day, from sunrise until sunset to honor those lost.