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Entries in Ground Zero (7)

Saturday
Sep102011

Obama Heralds ‘Resilient Nation’ on Sept. 11 Anniversary Eve

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama intends to keep a low profile through much of Sunday’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. No major speeches. No presidential pageantry or fanfare when he visits the three attack sites. He’ll speak only for 15 minutes at a concert and interfaith prayer service at night, aides say.

Still, Obama has sought to put his imprint on the anniversary ahead of time, using his weekly address to remember the fallen, those who have served selflessly in their memory, and the lessons their example provides for America’s future.

“A decade after 9/11, it’s clear for all the world to see: The terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation or the endurance of our values,” Obama said.

“They wanted to terrorize us but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear. Yes we face a determined foe, and make no mistake, they will keep trying to hit us again,” he said, alluding to the latest threat of a possible terror plot connected to the anniversary.

“But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people. And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.”

Obama cited the draw-downs of U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as signs of “confidence as a nation.” He invoked the determination of the American people to “not succumb to division or suspicion” as evidence they have rejected paralysis by terror. And he signaled that greater U.S. involvement in international partnerships and support for the Arab Spring were indications “America doesn’t hunker down and hide behind walls of mistrust.”

“Ten years ago, ordinary Americans showed us the true meaning of courage when they rushed up those stairwells, into those flames, into that cockpit,” Obama said. “In the decade since, a new generation has stepped forward to serve and keep us safe. In their memory, in their name, we will never waver.”

The president and first lady will participate in a service project in Washington Saturday, the White House said. On Sunday, they will travel to Ground Zero in New York City where they will attend a commemoration ceremony. Later, they travel to Shanksville, Pa., and then back to Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon where they will lay wreaths and meet privately with victims’ families.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May062011

Obama Tells Troops of Girl Who Lost Father on 9/11

Mario Tama/Getty Images(FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.) -- On Friday, while speaking to soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who recently returned from Afghanistan, President Obama gave moving remarks telling them of a girl who spoke to her father shortly before his death in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

President Obama met with Payton Wall at Ground Zero on Thursday. Wall, who was age four at the time of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, wrote the president a letter after Osama bin Laden was killed.

Obama said "her dad was trapped in the world trade center" so he called home.

"She watched her mom sobbing" and then the phone was passed to her. The teen told Obama that she could barely hear her father, but the words have remained with her.

"Payton, I love you and I will always be watching over you," her father told her, according to the President.

Wall, who was invited to stand behind the president when he laid a wreath at Ground Zero Thursday, got a lot of media attention when the event was concluded. But the girl declined to go into details about what she wrote the president, leaving it to Obama to recount the emotional moment.

"For her and for all of us this week has been a reminder of what we're about as a people," President Obama told the troops, referring to the death after nearly ten years, of Osama bin Laden.

"We're still the America that does the hard things. That does the great things," he said, pointing out that the 101st Airborne Division is the outfit that dropped behind enemy lines on D-Day and went to Little Rock to desegregate schools. "That was you," he said to the soldiers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May052011

Obama's Ground Zero Appearance Will Be Low-Key, Respectful

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama's appearance Thursday at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan will not be a "victory lap" to celebrate the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who directed the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

Rather, his first visit in three years to what is considered hallowed ground will be subdued and will not include any public remarks.

Just as he had done during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama will lay a wreath at the site where the World Trade Center towers were brought down by suicide hijackers.  He will also meet with some family members of those killed in the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

The president is expected to spend three hours at Ground Zero with Mayor Mike Bloomberg and other officials.

Before his trip there, Obama will meet with New York City firefighters who lost comrades who responded to the fires at the towers on 9/11.

Former President George W. Bush, who visited the site just three days after the 9/11 attacks, declined a White House invitation to join Obama for Thursday's Ground Zero visit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May042011

Former President Bush Skipping Ground Zero Event with Obama

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President George W. Bush said thanks but no thanks to an invitation from the White House to join President Obama at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan Thursday to mark the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

It was just three days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 that brought down the World Trade Center towers that Bush visited the spot forever to be known as Ground Zero.  At the time, he promised the victims' families, first responders and all Americans that the U.S. would hunt down bin Laden and his minions.

In announcing bin Laden's death Sunday, Obama noted the efforts of his predecessor and later asked Bush to travel to New York City on Thursday to appear at the site where the president will meet with family members of some of the victims, as well as with Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

But a Bush spokesman issued a brief statement in response to the invitation, which declared, "President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday.  He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight.  He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May032011

President Obama Heading to Ground Zero on Thursday

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will go to New York City Thursday to visit the site of the World Trade Center, where nearly 3,000 people died almost 10 years ago in a terrorist attack believed to have been plotted by Osama bin Laden.

According to the White House, while there, the president will meet with the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and mark the death of bin Laden, who was killed by Navy SEALS in a compound in Pakistan on Sunday.

Speaking at a bipartisan dinner in the East Room of the White House Monday night, President Obama called for the unity felt in the wake of the killing of bin Laden to be extended to the upcoming debates on Capitol Hill.

"I know that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illusions about the difficulty of the debates that we’ll have to be engaged in in the weeks and months to come.  But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family,” he said.

“Last night was one of those moments," he said referring to the announcement of bin Laden's death.  "And so tonight it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Game Faces for White House Officials at Correspondents Dinner

CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night, White House officials had to put on their game faces. The risky and dangerous military operation originally had been scheduled for Saturday, but had been pushed to Sunday because of weather.

Poking fun at C-SPAN’s low ratings, comedian Seth Meyers joked that Osama bin Laden had a daily afternoon show on the cable channel.

But at the dinner, officials ranging from President Obama to CIA director Leon Panetta to White House chief of staff Bill Daley to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen acted as if nothing was on their minds.

Sitting with the ABC News table, Daley showed no reaction when actor Eric Stonestreet of ABC’s Modern Family received a disappointing email that his White House tour scheduled for Sunday had been canceled.

Others at the table turned to Daley to ask him why, to see if something big was going on.

Daley said, "I don't know. Maybe a pipe broke.”

The real reason was that all White House tours had been canceled since the administration didn’t want to arouse any suspicions when tourists saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Panetta buzzing around.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Candidate Obama: We'll Take Action Without Pakistan, If Necessary

ABC News (file)(WASHINGTON) -- On August 1, 2007, a young Democratic presidential candidate -- criticized by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for being naïve on foreign policy matters -- surprised many of his supporters by pledging to conduct military operations in Pakistan with or without that country's permission.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of the man who was then president of Pakistan, "but let me make this clear: There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Clinton, then leading in the polls, was then attacking Obama for having said he'd be willing to meet with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela without preconditions in his first year in office.‬

At the time, Obama's speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., seemed an attempt by the young senator to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where he hoped to be seen as a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the United States from terrorist attack.

He proposed in his speech a more aggressive stance with that nuclear nation, making the "hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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