By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 – President Barack Obama has renewed his annual message for Americans to devote the 9/11 anniversary to a day of service, a White House official said today.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communication, discussed some of the plans for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States during a press briefing at the Foreign Press Center here.
“It is important to note, 9/11 is a day of service here in the United States, so over the course of the weekend, Americans around the country will be participating in service projects,” he said.
“And the president has already issued a message calling on Americans to serve, and he’ll be able to mark that occasion as well,” Rhodes said.
“Above all, of course, we want to commemorate the people who were lost on 9/11 in the attacks,” he said. “The president will be speaking directly to the families of the victims at each of the sites he’s visiting that day. He’ll have the opportunity to meet with the families, and to speak about their loss and their loved ones.”
Rhodes said other administration officials will participate throughout the country.
“Senator Clinton is giving a speech in New York tomorrow to discuss our international efforts to prevent terrorism,” he said.
Rhodes said the government is making a concerted effort to recognize all victims of terrorism, not just Americans.
“We also recognize that 9/11 is, unfortunately, not a unique act of terrorism,” he said. “It’s unique in its scale and its scope, but in terms of victims of terrorism around the world, we’ve seen attacks by al-Qaida on just about every continent that killed thousands of people.
“So I think we also want to step back and recognize the loss that has extended beyond many terrorist attacks, to include 9/11,” he added.
Rhodes also pointed out the United States is not alone in its labors to combat terrorism and should continue to seek a joint effort.
“Our efforts to keep our country safe are joined with efforts by other countries to protect their populations,” he said. “The sacrifice of service members that we’ve seen in the United States since 9/11 has been joined by sacrifices by many of our allies and partners in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“We want to make sure we’re honoring those that served alongside Americans,” Rhodes added. “And we are also underscoring that the only solution to terrorism in the long run is to have strong international partnerships that amplify our own efforts.”
Rhodes also said this strategy would involve information sharing, intelligence sharing, joint operations, strengthening of our partners.
“And, and of course, efforts to spread development, democracy and opportunities to different corners of the world,” he said.