This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

The President in NYC: "When We Say We Will Never Forget, We Mean What We Say"

The President speaks to cops and firefighters in New York City before laying a wreath at the National September 11th Memorial.

In New York City this afternoon, there was a profound mix of old grief and perhaps some new closure just a few days after the death of somebody responsible for such immense suffering in that city.   The President didn’t speak as he laid a wreath at the National September 11th Memorial. And he kept it private when he met with 9/11 family members afterwards.  But speaking separately to police officers from the city and firefighters at the "Pride of Midtown" Firehouse, Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 -- which lost 15 firefighters at the World Trade Center on 9/11 -- the President had messages for all of America.

To the firefighters:

This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago.  Obviously we can't bring back your friends that were lost, and I know that each and every one of you not only grieve for them, but have also over the last 10 years dealt with their family, their children, trying to give them comfort, trying to give them support.

What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say; that our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party; it didn’t matter which administration was in, it didn’t matter who was in charge, we were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act -- that they received justice.

So it’s some comfort, I hope, to all of you to know that when those guys took those extraordinary risks going into Pakistan, that they were doing it in part because of the sacrifices that were made in the States.  They were doing it in the name of your brothers that were lost.

To the police:

And so since that time I know a lot of you have probably comforted loved ones of those who were lost.  A lot of you have probably looked after kids who grew up without a parent.  And a lot of you continue to do extraordinary -- extraordinarily courageous acts without a lot of fanfare.  What we did on Sunday was directly connected to what you do every single day.  And I know I speak for the military teams, the intelligence teams that helped get bin Laden in saying that we know the sacrifices and courage that you show as well, and that you are part of the team that helped us achieve our goal, but also help us keep our citizens safe each and every day.

So I couldn't be prouder of all of you.  I couldn't be more grateful to you.  And I hope that you know that the country will continue to stand behind you going forward, because there are still going to be threats out there and you're still going to be called on to take courageous actions and to remain vigilant, and you're going to have an entire country behind you when you do it.