On the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Americans paused Wednesday to honor and reflect on the events of that day, even as the nation barely stepped back from the brink of military strikes against Syria.
President Barack Obama stood in a moment of silence on the White House’s South Lawn, along with Vice President Joe Biden and their wives, as a bugler played taps.
Obama spoke at a Pentagon ceremony later in the day, commenting on the resilience of the families of the victims and saluting those who served in the military.
The President vowed to defend the U.S. against potential threats, but did not mention the ongoing crisis in Syria.
“Let us have the strength to face the threats that endure, different though they may be from 12 years ago, so that as long as there are those who would strike our citizens, we will stand vigilant and defend our nation,” the President said.
In New York City, hundreds of families and friends of the victims stood in silence as bagpipes played.
Security in New York and Washington was tight, stronger than in past 9/11 anniversaries. The State Department said security was also beefed up at several embassies.
President Obama made a speech to the nation Tuesday night, where he presented a case for military strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who he accused of using chemical weapons against hundreds of his citizens.
The President said a military response would be delayed while a diplomatic solution to the crisis was being pursued.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001 when four hijacked planes crashed into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.
The United States’ military response to the terrorist attacks led to two long-running conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Image/Kevin Dietsch/European Pressphoto Agency/pool photo)