Obama honours 9/11 victims

2011-05-06 12:00
New York - President Barack Obama solemnly honoured victims of the September 11 2001 terror attacks on Thursday and declared that the killing of Osama bin Laden was an American message to the world: "When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say."

Standing at the gritty construction site of ground zero, where the World Trade Centre towers fell and a memorial now rises, the president laid a wreath of red, white and blue flowers for the nearly 3 000 who died.

For Obama, the day was about the importance of being in New York in the aftermath of the successful raid to find and kill bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader blamed for the attacks.

Obama addressed families who have watched and wondered for nearly a decade whether the government would track down its most infamous enemy.

On this special ground, Obama never mentioned bin Laden's name.

Still, this was where the terrorist inflicted his greatest damage in 2001 when hijacked airliners were crashed into the World Trade Centre.

Emotional New Yorkers

Nearly 200 other people died when a third airliner hit the Pentagon – Vice-President Joe Biden led a ceremony there on Thursday, and Bush Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attended - and others were killed when yet a fourth aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania.

Enthusiastic, emotional New Yorkers waited on streets to see the president, but there were few displays like the more raucous exuberance of a few days earlier. There were happy faces, shouts of "USA! USA!" and flags waved in the crowd, but there also was heavy security and most people were cordoned off blocks from where the president could be seen.

Bin Laden was shot dead in a raid on his Pakistan compound early on Monday, the result of years of painstaking intelligence work and a covert military mission in which none of the US commandos was killed.

Days after the 2001 attacks, President George W Bush stood here with firefighters and a bullhorn. There was a different feel a decade later as another president paid his respects. Obama met with firefighters, then police, before having a solemn moment at ground zero and meeting privately with families of those who died.

"This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day," the president said at Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9. The firehouse in New York's theatre district lost 15 firefighters on 9/11. The fire crews gave him hearty applause.

Obama said the American pursuit of the terrorist leader "sent a message around the world but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say, that our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party".

Obama to thank raid team

The president closed his eyes and clasped his hands at the outdoor memorial where the twin towers of the World Trade Centre once dominated the Manhattan skyline.

Mammoth fountains and reflecting pools mark the "footprints" of the fallen towers. Now the nearby skyline is filled with construction machinery. The emerging skyscraper informally known as Freedom Tower is more than 60 stories tall.

It wasn't a moment for celebrating the military operation that killed bin Laden; that may come on Friday, when the president visits Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home to the Army unit involved in transporting Navy Seals in and out of bin Laden's compound.

White House officials said Obama intended to privately thank participants in the raid.

Obama said on Thursday he hoped the results of the raid on bin Laden's compound showed that "we did what we said we were going to do, and that Americans, even in the midst of tragedy, will come together, across the years, across politics, across party, across administrations, to make sure that justice is done".

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the city in the days after the attacks, joined Obama during the day.

Photo debacle


Obama invited Bush to join him on Thursday in New York, but the former president declined.

Meanwhile, the debate over photos of bin Laden's death continued. Obama announced earlier he does not intend to make them public.

Several Republican presidential hopefuls want them released.

Texas Representative Ron Paul said on Thursday that he sides with transparency when there is public doubt. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said "it would have been OK to release the photos". And former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accused Obama of "pussy-footing" on making the photos public.

- AP

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  barack obama  |  osama bin laden  |  pakistan  |  us  |  security  |  9/11 attacks
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Kuils River - 13:44 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - HEAVY DELAYS
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 12:21 PM
    Road name: Eisleben Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Hermes way
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Inside Sales Executive

Cape Town CBD
Groupon SA (Pty) Ltd

Telesales Consultant

Table View - Parklands
Your Move Personnel
R6 000 - R6 500 Per Month

Operations Manager

Cape Town CBD
Express Employment Services - Cape Town
R400 000 - R540 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

40% off appliances & homeware

Get mind blowing deals on top selling appliances and homeware. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Lenovo A1000 tablet now R999!

Get the Lenovo A1000 tablet for only R999! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

New gobii smartphones from R999!

Front and rear camera's, dual SIM capability and 200MB of FREE Cell C data every month for 12 months, are just some of the many features on these smartphones. Get yours now! Shop here.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to avoid an argument or heated conversation today. Someone may be stirring things up and testing your patience. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.