On 9/11 anniversary, Donald Trump vows to eliminate terrorist safe havens across the world

President Donald Trump on Monday said America 'cannot be intimidated' and vowed to eliminate terrorist safe havens in any part of the world.

PTI September 12, 2017 08:15:28 IST
On 9/11 anniversary, Donald Trump vows to eliminate terrorist safe havens across the world

Washington: President Donald Trump on Monday said America "cannot be intimidated" and vowed to eliminate terrorist safe havens in any part of the world as he led the nation in mourning the death of nearly 3,000 people in the worst terror attack on the US soil 16 years ago.

"The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit," Trump said in his first 9/11 memorial address as the US president.

Nearly 3,000 people, including Indians, were killed when Al-Qaeda militants flew commercial planes into New York's World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Addressing an audience at the Pentagon, one of three sites attacked on 11 September, 2001, Trump issued stern warning to terrorists and said, "America cannot be intimidated and those who try will soon join the list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle."

"We're ensuring that they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country. We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large Earth," he said. Trump in August issued the sternest warning yet by an American leader to Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has "much to lose" by harbouring them.

On 911 anniversary Donald Trump vows to eliminate terrorist safe havens across the world

File image of Donald Trump. AP

Earlier on Monday, Trump and the First Lady Melania observed a moment of silence at the White House. He was joined by White House staff and top officials including spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, National Security Advisor HR McMaster and his Chief of Staff John Kelly.

At 8.46 am, a bell tolled as they stood between the two wings of the crowd with their heads bowed in silence. A Marine Played Taps on the trumpet at 8.47 am and all including Trump and the First Lady placed their hands over their hearts. 8.46 am is the exact time the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

Trump said the horror and anguish of that dark day were seared into the national memory forever. "It was the worst attack on our country since Pearl Harbour and even worse because this was an attack on civilians — innocent men, women, and children whose lives were taken so needlessly," he said. "America does not bend. We do not waver. And we will never, ever yield," Trump said.

"While we had never asked for this fight, we are steadfastly committed to seeing it through, as President Trump has made abundantly clear, and with no more temporising, as our example of leadership galvanises other nations to stand united against this threat to all humankind," Defence secretary Jim Mattis said speaking at the Pentagon Memorial.

General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the terrorists believed that these attacks would shake America’s commitment to its values. "And, as President Bush said hours after the attacks, the terrorists thought they could frighten us into chaos and retreat. But they were wrong," he asserted.

"Instead of retreat, the tragedy of 9/11 produced in us an unyielding resolve. Instead of hopelessness, our mourning turned into action. And we have strengthened our commitment to the idea that the freedom of many should never be endangered by the hatred of a few," Dunford said.

"Though our country was wounded that day, today we remind the world that terrorism will never defeat the United States," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

This date also marks a solemn tragedy where four Americans, including two of State Department personnel, were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. "Their loss will always weigh heavy in our hearts," he said in a statement.

"As an American, and as a native New Yorker, memories of 9/11 stir deep emotions, even 16 years later. As we observe Patriot Day to honor those we lost that fateful day, our resolve to 'never forget' remains as strong as ever," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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