On the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, President Barack Obama relied on the Bible to comfort Americans as he read from Psalm 46.
Hundreds of victim’s family members, city officials, and government leaders gathered at ground zero Sunday morning in commemoration of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks.
Mayor Bloomberg had decided to omit religious leaders as a part of the 9/11 ceremony in New York City, but religious undertones made their way regardless. Both Obama and former President George W. Bush included religious references in their addresses, as did former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani.
Used already by Obama in the past, and a favorite among leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and British former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Psalm 46 has been dubbed as “a sure defense in desperate times.”
Reading from the passage, President Obama said, “God is our refuge and strength.”
The president’s address led to a moment of silence marking the first hijacked aircraft striking 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 standing before the new 9/11 memorial.
Of Obama’s selection, principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest released a statement, “The President chose a scripture which he believed was most appropriate-he believed it was particularly appropriate to use- to read scripture this morning.”
Earnest continued, “And he chose a passage that talks of persevering through very difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger.”
Biblical scholars are still unsure of the origins of Psalm 46, which may go back as far as 700 B.C. The passage inspired nine-year-old prodigy Wolfgang Mozart to compose “God is Our Refuge” in 1765.
The ceremony Sunday also served as the opening of the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. To plan your visit, go to 911memorial.org/visit.