Friday, September 11, 2009

Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World
Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, and the smoky
wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism and
resiliency of the American people shone brightly on September 11,
2001. We stood as one people, united in our common humanity and
shared sorrow. We grieved for those who perished and remembered
what brought us together as Americans.

Today, we honor the lives we lost 8 years ago. On a
bright September day, innocent men, women, and children boarded
planes and set off for work as they had so many times before.
Unthinkable acts of terrorism brought tragedy, destruction,
pain, and loss for people across our Nation and the world.
As we pay tribute to loved ones, friends, fellow citizens,
and all who died, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideas and
ideals that united Americans in the aftermath of the attacks.
We must apprehend all those who perpetrated these heinous crimes,
seek justice for those who were killed, and defend against
all threats to our national security. We must also recommit
ourselves to our founding principles. September 11 reminds us
that our fate as individuals is tied to that of our Nation. Our
democracy is strengthened when we uphold the freedoms upon which
our Nation was built: equality, justice, liberty, and democracy.
These values exemplify the patriotism and sacrifice we
commemorate today.

In that same spirit of patriotism, I call upon all Americans
to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who
responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in
uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad.
In April, I was proud to sign the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy
Serve America Act, which recognizes September 11 as a National
Day of Service and Remembrance. Originated by the family members
of those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the National Day of Service
and Remembrance is an opportunity to salute the heroes of 9/11,
recapture the spirit of unity and compassion that inspired our
Nation following the attacks, and rededicate ourselves to
sustained service to our communities.

Throughout the summer, people of all ages and backgrounds
came together to lend a helping hand in their communities through
United We Serve. As this summer of service draws to an end, we
renew the call to engage in meaningful service activities and
stay engaged with those projects throughout the year. Working
together, we can usher in a new era in which volunteering and

service is a way of life for all Americans. Deriving strength
from tragedy, we can write the next great chapter in our Nation's
history and ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the
promise of America.

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law
107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as
Patriot Day, and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009,
has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually
recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.
United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2009,
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 as
a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that
occurred 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 other 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 WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord
two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States
of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.