Washington (CNN) – Commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, President Barack Obama proclaimed this weekend, Friday though Sunday, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.
“Today, our nation still faces great challenges, but this last decade has proven once more that, as a people, we emerge from our trials stronger than before,” Obama said in a statement Friday.
The president called on Americans to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks through activities such as prayer, memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils.
Obama also urged citizens to remember those among “the 9/11 generation” of service members who have “come of age bearing the burden of war,” with some paying the ultimate sacrifice.
“During these days of prayer and remembrance, a grateful nation gives thanks to all those who have given of themselves to make us safer,” Obama said.
Obama will attend memorial services at all three attack sites – New York, Washington and Pennsylvania – this weekend.
The proclamation comes in the wake of faith-based groups expressing opposition toward New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who stirred controversy when deciding to exclude religious leaders from the World Trade Center memorial service on Sunday.
Prominent politicians have also come out against the decision. On Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said religion played a key role in the days following the attacks by offering people some “strength to move on.”
“Just get them up. Say a little prayer,” Giuliani said at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday. “The microphone will not melt if you say a prayer.”
In his statement Friday, Obama did not address the clergy issue, but focused on the memory of those who lost their lives 10 years ago.
“We continue to stand with their families and loved ones, while striving to ensure the legacy of those we lost is a safer, stronger, and more resilient nation,” Obama said.
– CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.