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2011 Speeches

Remarks by Ambassador Carol Rodley at the Tenth Anniversary Memorial of the September 11th Attacks

September 11, 2011 | U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh

Good morning, Embassy colleagues and fellow Americans.  Thank you all for getting up early on a Sunday morning to be here to commemorate an important day in American and world history.  It’s important also to remember other people who died in extraordinary acts of courage trying to save other victims.

 Last year, on the anniversary of the attacks, President Obama encouraged us to “take inspiration from the victims and survivors of terrorism in every nation around the world, for their stories are more powerful and more enduring than that of terrorists.”

As we honor victims of terrorism, in nations around the world, we honor the resilience of the survivors and the families and the communities affected as well, on every continent.  We will never, must never forget those lost, but we must sustain our resilience and remain united to prevent new attacks and further victims.  And I think talking about and reflecting on resilience has a particular poignancy here in Cambodia, because Cambodians themselves know suffering and loss and have demonstrated great resilience. I think many of us who live here are impressed on a regular basis by the resilience that our Cambodian friends, colleagues and counterparts demonstrate on a regular basis.

Worldwide, terrorists have failed to achieve their goals.  Individuals, communities, and nations have shown they are stronger than fear.  We see abundant evidence of resilience.  Far from being paralyzed by the violent actions of a few, the vast majority of people around the world are focused on pursuing better futures for themselves and their children: achieving greater levels of education, creating new economic opportunities, and improving the systems that govern them.

The tenth anniversary of September 11th is a moment when all societies can reflect on the enduring strength of the human spirit.  In doing so, we send a unified message:  Terrorism has not prevailed and will not prevail.  It has no religion.  It has no country.  It has no justification.  It has no future.  We will be vigilant, but around the world we will pursue our lives with confidence and optimism, not fear.

Now, I would like to read President Obama’s proclamation on this occasion of the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks:

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In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the American people demonstrated that in times of hardship, the values that define us do not simply endure – they are stronger than ever.  As a Nation, we responded to unthinkable tragedy with an outpouring of service and goodwill.  On that dark day, first responders rushed into a burning Pentagon and climbed the stairs of smoking towers on the verge of collapse, while citizens risked their own health and safety to prevent further heartbreak and destruction.  As Americans, we came together to help our country recover and rebuild.

Today, we pay tribute to the selfless heroes and innocent victims of September 11, 2001, and we reaffirm the spirit of patriotism, service, and unity that we felt on that day and the months that followed.  By volunteering our time and unique skills, we can enrich communities across our country, and together, we can strengthen our Nation to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In the days to come, I ask all Americans to join together in serving their communities and neighborhoods in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks.  Today and throughout the year, scores of Americans answer the call to make service a way of life – from helping the homeless to teaching underserved students to bringing relief to disaster zones.  I encourage all Americans to visit, or for Spanish speakers, to learn more about service opportunities across our country.

As we join in serving causes greater than ourselves and honoring those we lost, we are reminded of the ways that the victims of 9/11 live on – in the people they loved, the lives they touched, and the courageous acts they inspired.  On Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, we pledge to carry on their legacy of courage and compassion, and to move forward together as one people. 

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001, the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day," and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, the Congress has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized "National Day of Service and Remembrance." 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2011, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.  I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  I invite the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance.  I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 

IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth. 


At this time, I would like to direct your attention to the lowering of the flag at half-staff by our Marine Corps Security Guard Detachment.  Following the flag lowering, we will have a minute of silence.

Thank you for joining us today both to remember those who were lost on 9/11 and to honor all victims of terrorism.  May their legacy be a safer, stronger, and more resilient world community.