President Obama joined Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Joseph Dunford in speaking at a memorial service held at the Pentagon Sunday to mark the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001.
In his remarks, Obama described the occasion as "a day that is still difficult but reveals the love and faithfulness ... in the hearts of our nation," quoting from the biblical book of Proverbs in his encouragement to the families of those who were killed in the attacks. He also praised first responders, law enforcement, and members of the military who have served to minimize the damage of terrorism on 9/11 and in the years since.
"Groups like al Qaeda, like [the Islamic State], know they will never be able to defeat a country as great, as strong as America," Obama continued, "so instead they try to terrorize, in hopes that they can stoke enough fear so we turn on each other and change who we are and how we live." Rejecting the notion that such efforts could succeed, the president celebrated the United States' "patchwork heritage" as one of the strengths which preserve America in the face of adversity.