Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sept. 10 toured the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He laid a wreath in honor of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who fought back against their hijackers that day to prevent them from using the airliner as a weapon like the aircraft the brought down the World Trade Center towers and damaged the Pentagon. “Their example continues to inspire and to strengthen our nation,” said Panetta in remarks at the site. He called the passengers and crew “heroes” for giving their lives for the families and country they loved. In his weekly address to the nation on Sept. 8, President Obama said the terrorists did not succeed on 9/11 in defeating the American spirit. “No adversary and no act of terrorism can change who we are,” he said. “We are Americans, and we will protect and preserve this country we love. On this solemn anniversary, let’s remember those we lost, let us reaffirm the values they stood for, and let us keep moving forward as one nation and one people.” (AFPS report by Claudette Roulo) (Obama’s 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.