9/11 anniversary is a time for remembrance

KIRTLAND AFB, N.M. --
This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the bravery of passengers on Flight 93; later this year, we will mark the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In both cases, our adversaries underestimated the resilience, dedication and spirit of the American people. Their unwarranted attacks only served to strengthen our resolve and instilled in all Americans a new sense of patriotism and pride.

We have been a nation at war for a decade now, and have lost more than 6,000 service members.

Today, our global commitments are keeping more than 37,000 Airmen forward-deployed in support of worldwide contingencies. Each day, while more than 500 sorties are flown in Iraq and Afghanistan, we in the nuclear enterprise are also providing two-thirds of the nation's nuclear triad - always mission-ready to deter our enemies.

Many of you are among the more than 2 million who have served directly in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom; many of our teammates are forward-deployed today. Let us not forget that the work you perform daily as part of the nuclear enterprise is critically important to our deterrence, national defense and maintaining a free nation, whether you are acquiring new weapon systems, sustaining our current inventory or providing support to other mission partners.

For those who would like to participate in a public event to mark this anniversary, the Albuquerque community is hosting a ceremony at 10 a.m. this Sunday at One Civic Plaza. Other events across the nation will help mark this third official observance of the National Day of Service and Remembrance as we recognize not just the dedication of our nation's military, but that of its first responders - firefighters, police officers and others who answered the nation's call on the morning of Sept. 11 and all the mornings since. We will join with the people of more than 90 nations who also lost loved ones 10 years ago, as well as all of those lost in terrorist attacks since then.

Tanya and I commend your dedication, and that of your families, to the continued defense of our nation.

Your sacrifices directly contribute to the safety and security of the American public, and are a shining example of the integrity, service and excellence that are hallmarks of America's Air Force.