Obama commemorates 9/11 during memorial ceremony at Pentagon

11:37, September 12, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama lays a wreath in honor of those who died while attending a Pentagon event marking the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks onthe United States, September 11, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

President Barack Obama on Saturday asked Americans to preserve their tolerance and at the same time vowed to do "what's necessary" to protect the country from terrorism.

Obama spoke during a memorial ceremony on the grounds of the Defense Department's headquarters, where a hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon, killing 184 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is a day of remembrance, a day of reflection," Obama said at the ceremony for those who died in the building and on the plane that hit it.

Promising that "we will do what's necessary to protect our country," Obama asked America to "not hunker down behind the wall of suspicion" and stay true to the tradition of tolerance.

The president's remarks came at a time when the United States is embroiled in a spate of emotional controversies including a planned mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attack in New York and a now-suspended proposal by a Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran.

"As Americans, we will not or ever be at war with Islam," Obama said.

Obama observed a moment of silence at the White House, then went to the sprawling Pentagon to participate in a wreath laying ceremony and deliver a speech. Obama also was to participate in a service activity later in the day.

Vice President Joe Biden planned to speak at the New York ceremony, where 2,752 people were killed when two jetliners flew into the World Trade Center. Bells were to toll three more times to mark the moment the second plane hit the tower and for the times that each tower collapsed.

First Lady Michelle Obama and her predecessor, Laura Bush, were to speak at a memorial ceremony in honor of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The flight was en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers seized control. But passengers fought back and the hijackers responded by crashing the plane about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Pittsburgh.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王寒露)

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