'America does not give in to fear', says Obama

President Barack Obama honoured the legacy of September 11 victims by personally tracing the trail of the terrorist attacks, proudly declaring that the decade since has proven "America does not give in to fear".

At ground zero, Mr Obama stood in solidarity with President George W Bush right where hijacked airliners smashed into the twin World Trade Centre towers in 2001.

He touched the names of those etched into a bronze memorial amid the rush of its striking waterfalls.

In a field in western Pennsylvania, Mr Obama strolled along a marbled Wall of Names that stands in tribute to the 40 people who crashed in Shanksville after fighting back against the terrorists.

Mr Obama seemed to shake the hand of every person he could reach.

In the rebuilt Pentagon just outside the US capital, the symbol of US military might attacked by terrorists that day, Mr Obama placed a wreath at a memorial where each of 184 victims is remembered.

A brass quartet played a soulful rendition of Amazing Grace.

And finally, back in Washington, after a day he chose to mark mainly by quiet presence, the president spoke of the pride of a nation.

"These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear," he said. Nor to suspicion or mistrust or sacrificed values, he said.

"Our people still work in skyscrapers," Mr Obama said during an evening ceremony centred on American hope and resilience.

"Our stadiums are still filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball. ... This land pulses with the optimism of those who set out for distant shores, and the courage of those who died for human freedom."

This was not a day centred on politics.

Mr Obama's principal role was simply to be there - to be there at every site - as Americans remembered the nearly 3,000 lives lost and ponder all that has transpired.

On a brilliant, sun-splashed morning, Mr Obama and his wife, Michelle, first walked with Mr Bush and his wife, Laura, to the new North Memorial Pool at New York's ground zero.

All four touched the names etched in bronze and silently bowed their heads. The former president wore his anguish clearly.

They then turned to dispense greetings and hugs to family members of those who died.

Mr Bush gave Mr Obama a quick nod of solidarity after the president's reading. It was the first time the two presidents had seen each other since their Rose Garden appearance after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010.

The presidents and their wives stood behind bulletproof glass during the ceremony, an indication of the tight security surrounding the day's events.

In Washington, Mr Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser convened a meeting in the Situation Room to review security threats.

Mr Obama, who was an unknown state senator from Illinois when the hijackers struck, has called on Americans to remember and serve - and to come together.

"Ten years later, I'd say America came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character," he told NBC News. "We've made mistakes. Some things haven't happened as quickly as they needed to. But overall, we took the fight to al Qaida, we preserved our values, we preserved our character."

In the broadcast interview, Mr Obama recalled going home after the attacks and rocking his baby daughter, Sasha.

"Our first reaction was, and continues to be, just heartbreak for the families involved. The other thing that we all remember is how America came together."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn