“Today, we remember those nearly three thousand men, women and children lost in the attacks of September eleventh, and we honor more than six thousand service members who have given their lives in Afghanistan and in Iraq, as well as tens of thousands of our wounded warriors, and the Gold Star families of our fallen heroes.
How we remember that day is a mark of our resilient American spirit. We honor and remember those lost, but we also recognize that on that day, a date that once held no special meaning to us, our country and a generation of Americans were changed in an instant.
The nine eleven generation includes those on duty on September 11, 2001 who quickly transitioned to war and the nearly three million Americans who have joined the military since. Many of the young people serving today were sitting in classrooms on that fateful day. Still knowing they would be sent in harm’s way; they raised their hands to serve the country.
In contrast to earlier conflicts, the nine eleven generation are all volunteers. Everyone in today’s military has chosen to serve in a time of war. Afghanistan and Iraq mark the first time since the Revolutionary War that our nation has engaged in sustained conflicts fought entirely by volunteers. Never before has America asked so much of our all-volunteer force.
The accomplishments of the nine eleven generation have been extraordinary— making great strides in our fight against the Taliban, pushing Al Qaeda from its Afghan safe havens, training Afghan forces, delivering justice to Osama bin Laden and putting al Qaeda on the path to defeat, all of which has helped to prevent terrorist attacks and save American lives at home. Meanwhile, our troops in Iraq battled a brutal insurgency, have trained Iraqi forces and given the Iraqi people an opportunity to forge a better future.
Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and their families have served with honor, kept us safe, and earned the eternal gratitude of all Americans. As a nation, we will move forward with the same strength, unity and resilience that our troops and their families display every day.” – President Barack Obama; September 11th, 2011