Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday the 9/11 terrorist attacks have made the nation more resilient. “As we recall that day of tragedy and trauma, of bravery and heroism, we remember it as a defining moment for all Americans,” said Panetta in his address at the Pentagon service commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks. “We were challenged by al Qaeda and its vicious hatred aimed squarely at our values. They tried to weaken us and instead, they made us stronger.” Also speaking there, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said: “They could bring down the walls, but they could not bring down America. They could kill our citizens, but they could not kill our citizenship.” Indeed, he noted, two million men and women have deployed to combat since 9/11, all volunteers, to prevent another devastating attack on US soil. “We will never forget the human cost paid by this generation—the more than 6,200 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines lost in the line of duty,” said Panetta. “Like those taken from us on 9/11, we will always remember that they paid the ultimate sacrifice for America.” (Panetta-Mullen remarks)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.