Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As the 11th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, President Obama has ushered in a new way for those affected by the tragedy to pay homage to their lost. The commander-in-chief has signed a proclamation making Sept. 7 through Sept. 9, 2012, National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, and has asked that all Americans take part in candlelight vigils and other commemoratives activities on Sept. 11, now a National Day of Service and Remembrance. In his weekly address, Obama had the following to say, according to the White House.

This week, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It's a time to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children we lost, and the families they left behind. It's a chance to honor the courage of the first responders who risked their lives – on that day, and every day since. And it's an opportunity to give thanks for our men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed, sometimes far from home, to keep our country safe.

This anniversary is about them. It's also a time to reflect on just how far we've come as a nation these past eleven years.

On that clear September morning, as America watched the towers fall, and the Pentagon burn, and the wreckage smoldering in a Pennsylvania field, we were filled with questions. Where had the attacks come from, and how would America respond? Would they fundamentally weaken the country we love? Would they change who we are?

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