- (Photo: Reuters / Brian Snyder)
President Barack Obama used Psalm 46 to comfort a nation in mourning 10 years following the tragic events of 9/11 in which nearly 3,000 people died following a terrorist attack.
The September 11 memorial ceremony that took place on Sunday was the first attended by President Obama.
Many have been abuzz at the President reading from Psalm 46 in his address at the memorial, which took place in New York City.
"God is our refuge and strength," said President Obama, quoting Psalm 46 from the Bible, following an observed moment of silence that marked the first hijacked jet crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. ten years ago.
“…God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved,” continued Obama as he stood before the white oak trees of the new 9/11 memorial.
Principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest released a statement on Sunday detailing that President Obama chose to read from Psalm 46 because it seemed most fitting for the occasion.
"The President chose a scripture which he believed was most appropriate -- he believed it was particularly appropriate to use -- to read scripture this morning. And he chose a passage that talks of persevering through very difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger," Earnest said.
Despite efforts to keep the 9/11 memorial secular, both President Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani quoted the bible in their memorial addresses.
Giuliani read from Ecclesiastes 3:1-9, which begins, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
Former President George W. Bush also made a religious gesture in his address during the memorial, quoting a letter written by President Abraham Lincoln that references God.
The “Bixby letter” of condolence, was written President Lincoln in 1864 to a mother who lost five sons in the Civil War.
The letter states:
“I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”