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“Today we honor the nearly 3,000 men, women, and children who died on September 11, 2001, and even more who lost their lives in service to our country in the two decades since,” Obama wrote in an Instagram post. “We reaffirm our commitment to keep a sacred trust with their families — including the children who lost parents, and who have demonstrated such extraordinary resilience. But this anniversary is also about reflecting on what we’ve learned in the 20 years since that awful morning.”
At the time of the attacks, Obama was serving as a state senator in Illinois. Nearly ten years later, in May 2011, he was in the middle of his first term as president when U.S. forces captured and killed Osama Bin Laden.
“Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen the same courage and selflessness on display again and again,” Obama said. “We saw it a decade ago when, after years of persistence, our military brought justice to Osama bin Laden. And we’re seeing it today — in the doctors and nurses, bone tired, doing what they can to save lives; the service members, some of whom weren’t even born 20 years ago, putting themselves at risk to save Americans and help refugees find a better life; the first responders battling roaring fires and rising waters to bring families to safety. They represent what is best in America, and what can and should bring us together.”
Obama continued, “9/11 reminded us how so many Americans give of themselves in extraordinary ways — not just in moments of great crisis, but every single day. Let’s never forget that, and let’s never take them for granted.”
Read Barack Obama’s full statement on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks up top.