WASHINGTON — Ten years after the nation was horrified but unified by terrorist attacks, President Barack Obama honored the legacy of 9-11 victims on Sunday by personally tracing the trail of events, proudly declaring that the decade since has proved that “America does not give in to fear.”
At ground zero, Obama stood in solidarity with former President George W. Bush where hijacked airliners smashed into the twin World Trade Center towers.
On a brilliant, sun-splashed morning, Obama and his wife, Michelle, first walked with 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 bowed their heads. The former president wore his anguish clearly.
They then turned to dispense greetings and hugs to relatives of those who died.
Obama read Psalm 46, which speaks of perseverance. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.”
Bush then gave Obama a quick nod of solidarity. It was the first time the two had seen each other since their Rose Garden appearance after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010.
Bush read of sacrifice from a letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to a mother who lost five sons in the Civil War.
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, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser convened a meeting in the Situation Room to review security threats.