For President Barack Obama, the prospect of more U.S. military action in the Middle East hangs over his observance today of the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony in observance of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey at the Pentagon (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

During a ceremony at the Pentagon, he vowed to "defend our nation" against the threats that endure, even though they may be different than the ones that faced the country 12 years ago today.

He said, "Let us have the wisdom to know that while force is sometimes necessary, force alone cannot build the world we seek."

Among those gathered at the Pentagon were family members of those killed 12 years ago today. Many wore red, white and blue striped ribbons, and some cried as the president spoke.

Obama said, "Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been."

The president also paid tribute to the four Americans who were killed one year ago today in an attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. He asked the country to pray for those who "serve in dangerous posts."

Obama began the day with a somber remembrance at the White House. Along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden, Obama stood on the South Lawn to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the moment when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

Sept. 11 victims honored at Flight 93 memorial

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Families of the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93 have been remembering their loved ones today as heroes who made history through unselfish and quick actions.

The family members joined nearly 200 other people in reading the names of the 33 passengers and seven crew members, as they marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. They gathered at a memorial to the victims in western Pennsylvania, where the plane went down.

Investigators concluded that the hijackers brought down the plane amid an uprising by the passengers. Flight 93 had been traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or the Capitol.

Recalling the actions of the passengers, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said, "We never know when we'll be called to lay down our lives for others."

The memorial to the victims includes a wall of white stone, with each victim's name engraved on a separate panel. A groundbreaking for a 6,800-square-foot visitor center was held yesterday.

AP-NORC Poll: Fewer Americans fear terror attack

Visitors attend ceremonies at the Flight 93 National Memorial l In Shanksville, PA (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — A new poll says fewer Americans fear their families could become the victim of a terror attack.

The poll by the AP and the N-O-R-C Center for Public Affairs Research says 30 percent of those surveyed are a "great deal" or "somewhat" concerned about being harmed by terrorists. That's the lowest level in polling on the subject dating back to 2004.

Nick Chiarchiaro, whose wife, Dorothy, was killed in the World Trade Center attack, said on Wednesday that he believes those numbers will go up if the U.S. attacks Syria.

The AP-NORC Center survey was conducted Aug. 12-29, 2013, by NORC at the University of Chicago. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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