Washington (CNN) – With heightened terror alerts raised on the 10th anniversary weekend of 9/11, President Barack Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani called on America to remember its unity in the days after the attacks.
“They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear,” said Obama in his weekly address Saturday. “Yes we face a determined foe, and make no mistake-they will keep trying to hit us again. But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people. And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.”
Obama plans to attend memorial services at all three attack sites - New York, Washington and Pennsylvania - on Sunday.
The president used the occasion to thank military service members for keeping America safe over the last decade, adding that in the "past 2 1/2 years, more senior al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated than at any time since 9/11."
But the president said the country is on the path to ending its presence in Iraq and bringing home troops from Afghanistan.
“Because after a hard decade of war, it is time for nation-building here at home,” he said.
While delivering the GOP weekly address Saturday, Giuliani, the mayor of New York City at the time of the attacks, also said 9/11 drew America together and brought out the nation’s character of resilience.
And while he agreed that America is safer now than it was before Sept. 11, Giuliani strongly urged against setting timetables for pulling American troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
“American security requires a long-term military presence in the part of the world where people and organizations are plotting to kill us,” Giuliani said. “We must not allow impatience to prevent our military from achieving its objective in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the objective is the elimination of the threat to our nation.”
In June, Obama announced a drawback of 10,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of this year and 23,000 by September 2012. Last August, the U.S. officially ended its combat mission in Iraq but still has troops on the ground.
Above all, Giuliani said, it is important that the country be reminded of its resiliency this weekend.
“We must rediscover our unity. We must never forget what we witnessed on that day, both the incomprehensible face of pure evil and the depth of love and compassion,” Giuliani said. “Today, 10 years later, the fight continues and the memories remain etched into our national character.”