On Sunday, President Obama attended a 9/11 memorial service at the Pentagon, 15 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In his speech, the president honored those who lost their lives, and praised the families and survivors of that tragic day for how they've handled the years since, calling them "an inspiration to me and to our entire country."
He highlighted their service to the community and reminded Americans of the importance of togetherness:
Even as you've mourned, you've summoned the strength to carry on. In the names of those you've lost, you've started scholarships and volunteered in your communities, and done your best to be a good neighbor and a good friend and a good citizen. And in your grief and grace, you have reminded us that, together, there's nothing we Americans cannot overcome.
President Obama carried this message of unity throughout his speech, as he addressed the hate and violence that continues to plague the country and urged Americans not to let the actions of terrorists tear us apart or change us. In a time when some choose to see diversity as a reason for division, Obama called it "one of our greatest strengths."
And that's why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation — a people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background — bound by a creed as old as our founding, e pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one. For we know that our diversity — our patchwork heritage — is not a weakness; it is still, and always will be, one of our greatest strengths. This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.
Obama went on to recognize the bravery of the 9/11 victims and first responders, as well as the men and women serving their country in the armed forces. He argued that "the most enduring memorial to those we lost is ensuring the America that we continue to be — that we stay true to ourselves, that we stay true to what's best in us, that we do not let others divide us."